We got out of our cars and began the short walk to the dock. Without speaking about it, all three of us turned left onto the path paved with oyster shells. The trees and darkness enveloped us quickly but I was not scared. This was our place. And as made our way through the small woods to our secret gathering, I felt like a Ya-Ya, like from that book. I smiled at the thought as my eyes adjusted to the darkness and I began to see the wooden gate up ahead.
We descended the wooden steps with careful feet and walked to the end of the deserted pier. In all our years coming here, I had never once seen a boat tethered to the dock. I like that because it made it feel like only ours. We sat quietly and sipped wine and smoked Black & Mild’s. In younger days, this was part of the secret – our hidden acts of rebellion. Now, sitting in our circle of three, it was part of the ritual. Someway off, a single lamp lit the night. I had often contemplated the pro’s and con’s of that lamp in lulls of conversation. Some nights I had resented it, thinking it better to have only the stars. But at that moment under the gray sky, I liked it. It was our flashlight while we hid beneath the dark and told our secrets like children. I looked at Alyssa as she took us farther back into spring, animating her story with brilliant gestures. Her mermaid hair looked longer than I could remember. I took the ends of it into my hand and felt the months of separation between us. Then I let go, leaned back, and watched the yellow watery light dance across her face as she continued.