Summer in Walla Walla, Dixie Cups melted their nectar into us.
It was hot hot but we were getting in our miles. We talked about getting up early to run before the heat, but we never did. Mornings were slow and the sun leaked in. Evenings we’d do wheat fields, gold and stubby, weaving the line between road and gravel. If you squint your eyes at sunset, everything is red. Or Mill Creek, dodging the geese, the goats there on their little wooden platforms to watch. Or if it was an easy day, golf course—short with the grass-green cool and the sprinklers.
Then we’d come back to stretch and to ice.
Our hurt was as small, then, as the space between the knob of your heel and the jut of your tibia.
“Ice me?” you’d say, and I’d smell the old white of the freezer and choose a Dixie Cup, rip the rim to the crystal cold and hold your foot, catching the warm drip into my lap.
Then you’d ice me, up and down, in the tender spot where my calf meets my fibula.
And for dessert we sucked Dixie Cups of frozen grape juice. We sat shoulder to shoulder on Porch Couch and you told me about the old bugs that scrambled towards the living room light. Mr. Bug and his deadbeat job. Mr. Bug and his fabulous ice cream cone—never facts, of course, but all of it true.
And those nights we slept with purple fingers.
Allie Donahue writes essays, poetry, and plays. She holds a bachelor’s in rhetoric studies from Whitman College and a master’s in education from Rhode Island College. Her work has been published in English Journal, Portland’s Willamette Week, and The Oregonian. Her plays have been performed at Whitman College in Washington and by Love Creek Productions in New York. She lives in Rhode Island, where she teaches high school.