Purple City | A triangle is a complicated shape, and you’ll get poked if you’re not careful. The bra I wore had triangular cups, but I doubt he was thinking about geometry when I lifted my shirt.
“Does this look like a bikini?”
He grinned like a child. I could see him mentally composing the tale he’d later relay to the boys on his football team.
“I don’t know. Let me check again.”
In the background M rolled her eyes. She’d already doffed her top without soliciting permission from anyone. She kicked water at us.
“Are you getting in?”
By day the pools at the Legislature were filled with toddlers in sunhats stumbling and shrieking; at night, overgrown children skulked in from the suburbs to do the same. We were alone for the moment, but it wouldn’t be long before the security guard made his rounds again.
“I guess it kind of looks like a bikini,” he said unconvincingly.
M was renowned for her boobs. In a side-by-side comparison we’d look like one of those puberty progression illustrations: I’d be at the “small tits, starting to grow hair in places” stage and she’d be “cantaloupes and full bush.” Size-wise, there was no way I could compete. But she was in the water behind me, shirtless and with her shorts rolled up as high as they would go, and he was still looking at me. I took my shirt off and tossed it at him. I joined M, and we waded in parallel while he wrestled with his jeans.
When he leaped the edge in his boxer briefs he nearly landed on top of us. We pushed him over and he floated on his back, showing us his belly like a puppy hoping for pats. We eyed each other. It still wasn’t clear who was with him: her or me. She’d spent an hour on the phone with me the previous night arguing against him. He’d asked about me in math class, she revealed. But no, you don’t want to date him. No, no, no. He’s uncool. He laughs too loud. When his doorbell rings he takes off his shirt so you have to see his chest when he opens the door.
He went for our ankles as we wended by, caught us both and tugged until we toppled. The orange glow from the nearby floodlights washed over us just enough to highlight M’s spectacular cleavage. I crossed my arms.
M suggested we play Purple City. Prolonged staring at the floodlights was rumoured to mess with your vision and make the city appear purple. People said it was dangerous. I didn’t want seared retinas, but he was game to try. He trotted over to the building and stood dripping beside the concrete stairs, ostensibly staring at the lights, though he kept peeking to see if we were still watching. We were. So were several vagrants installed in the bushes that lined the pathways across from the pool.
“It doesn’t work,” he eventually hollered.
I was disappointed. Not that it wasn’t true, but that he’d admitted as much. I would have fabricated a major psychedelic experience. The truth needs help if it’s not interesting on its own.
We waded some more, but it was cold, and the security guard was back. M and I put on our shirts and demanded he drive us home. In the parking lot, a standoff. Who would ride shotgun? Earlier we’d deferred the decision, sliding into the backseat, our primary allegiance still to each other.
The floodlights illuminated her face. I could see she’d decided something. I didn’t want him, and I don’t think she really did either, but in geometry there’s got to be a point where two lines meet.
The city did look a little purple from the backseat.