Fish Lips

You know what I like? I like crouching by the river with my hands in the shallows, tickling for trout. I’ve heard you can catch them that way, snatch them and gut them and eat them right there, but I’ve never tried. I just like when they mouth at my fingers, and that swift, angry swish when they find I’m not food.

I like swimming, as well, on a hot summer’s day. I like squinting at the sun through the water, and breaking the surface half-blind.

I like the smell of the sea: fish guts, warm kelp, salt and mussels. We used to go on hot days, gather jellyfish in buckets and take them up on the bluff, chuck ’em at folks down below. Or we’d feed the gulls so they’d congregate, chase them away, then feed them some more to make amends. One time, there was a dead one, and we tried to get its skull, but there was brain goo still in there. Too gross.

I like the sky when it’s hot. It looks harder and farther away. I like when it’s bright, with just a few clouds.

What else? Oh, old-fashioned sweets, I like those—cola bottles, flying saucers, Barratt’s sherbet fountains. Edinburgh Castle rock candy. Fizzy Chewits. Gray’s Herbal Tablets. I’m not sure we get any of that here. Well, maybe the cola bottles. I think I’ve seen those.

I remember the day the ha’penny went out of circulation. Mother let me round them all up and spend them on sweets. There were still things you could get for half a penny, candy necklaces, I think, those candied puffed rice things, Jelly Babies, white mice…. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I do like a bargain.

I like that feeling where you’re so hungry your teeth hurt, where all you can think about is biting into a juicy cut of steak, and you can feel it in your gums. Haven’t had that in a while.

I like making fun of that big, stupid ladder. All things being equal, I’d rather it weren’t there, but since it is, well…I’m not above an easy target.

I like falling asleep when nothing hurts, and my mind only wanders down sunlit paths. I love when they lead to good dreams.

Nothing happened today. I didn’t get out of bed. I didn’t eat. Tomorrow, I’ll do both.

Tomorrow will be a good day.

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