Around the Edges

We are not the kind of people who know much about tolls. We have a can full of change, a bucket of chocolate chip cookies. We have our matching red swimming suits. He has the Instamatic.
“Memories,” he says. “Rewinds itself,” he says. She clicks it closed, all ready to go. He tosses our change into toll collectors along the way—it’s where the roads open up, where everything divides. The pictures are the kind with the month and year around the edges, the kind that fade over time, the kind that turn shades of blue-green, including our faces. I eat cookies across from her all blond-haired, blue-eyed—the way people want you to be. In the front seat, she stares at the cornfields, the Smokey Mountains, and finally all the flatness that is Florida. We make record time, even with the places of interest. “Go if you have to go, we’re going,” he says. We feed our cookies to gulls at the gulf—gray sky, water, and sand. “There was a day,” he says, taking deep ones now, diving in the way you dive in. We are pale and chubby like everyone else where we come from. We are in our matching red swimming suits. My toes sink into the pasty sand. He calls out from the gulf, most of what he calls out to us blown away in the wind, waves rising behind—aware—unaware. We scratch a stick-person family into the gray and pasty sand, use seaweed for hair. She smooths him over with her bare foot, seaweed for hair stuck between her toes.
“Weissmuller,” she says and takes the last one ever. It rewinds itself the way it rewinds itself. I touch seaweed for hair. I touch between her toes, month and year around the edges.

Jonathan Johnson has published fiction, poetry, reviews, and interviews in a variety of journals, including NOON, Corium Magazine, Dead Reckonings, and The Weird Fiction Review. He makes his way in California.