i noticed it when bill asked me to drive his truck on our memorial day trip to the lake. he led the caravan on the two-hour drive, towing his two jetskis at a speed of approximately sixty miles per hour. i followed him in his aforementioned truck, glad that we weren’t going any faster. trina sat in the middle of the backseat, and when she took her shoes off and put her feet on the ceiling, i told her to quit it, because i couldn’t see out the rearview mirror.i noticed it when chien asked if we had to wear anything special on the jetskis.
“no,” i said. “well, a lifejacket, but other than that, no.”
“really?” he said. “a lifejacket?”
“YES,” i said, “otherwise bill won’t let you on, and i won’t, either.” i was too scared to go faster than 25 on a jetski. when i rode with andy and he went 45, i closed my eyes and screamed. “FUCK! ANDY! STOP!” he couldn’t hear me. i dug my fingernails into his lifejacket and cried. i watched how much everybody drank, worried that people would drown in the lake or set themselves on fire while cooking or get bitten by a snake or give someone a horseshoe concussion or choke on a potato chip and die. alyssa and chris drove up on their motorcycle, helmetless, in t-shirts and tank tops. “if she fell off the back of that thing, she’d need multiple skin grafts,” i said. “and in those flip flops, her feet would be mangled. but i guess it wouldn’t matter, since she’d be headless, too.” i drove sixty miles an hour on the way back, too, even though we weren’t following anyone. when a small plane flew low overhead, bouncing red and blue lights in my side mirrors, i panicked, gripping andy’s hand. he didn’t wake up. nobody did. “is that cop car still there to our right, trina? in my blind spot?” i asked as we neared our neighborhood.
“no,” she said. “i don’t see a cop car.” i noticed most of all when andy and i stopped at blockbuster to rent a movie on the way home. since i was still wearing my bathing suit, i waited in the car while andy went inside. he was halfway across the parking lot before he was stopped by a small man in a long-sleeved shirt. the man hadn’t come from a car or from inside the store; i hadn’t seen him come from anywhere. he talked to andy for what seemed like twenty minutes, gesturing wildly and pointing around. i began to get worried. what if the man was crazy? what if he had a gun? what if we got robbed? what if andy was killed? i sat upright, put my seatbelt back on, and unlocked the doors in case andy needed to dive into the car for a quick escape. then i thought, what if andy needed help? should i get out in case we had to make a run for it? i took my seatbelt off again and grabbed the door handle, breathless, ready to jump out at a moment’s notice. my heart was hammering. i watched as andy fished some change from his pocket, gave it to the man, and went into the video store. i didn’t know i would be afraid of everything all the time until i started being afraid of everything all the time.