—LATELY IT SEEMS YOU’VE BEEN MAKING DECISIONS WITHOUT US
Midday, but the beach stood nearly deserted. Midday, the sun shooting skeins of light, though the air seemed leaden to Marco, weighing him down the way the sickness had crushed everyone all year. His mother first to go, his father next, his abuela somehow still holding on, in their tin shanty, worlds away from the tourist zone.
He trudged through sand, a wooden staff behind his neck, stretched across his shoulders, necklaces of every length and thickness draped down like shiny salamanders, some clattering as Marco approached the grand hotel that faced the ocean.
If security was out, Marco would have to keep walking, but there were none now and so Marco moved in closer.
Poolside, the waiters looked like hospital workers, dressed in cream pants and shirts, all wearing cream face-coverings. The pool itself was flush with tourists, none wearing masks, all stripped down to bathing suits, seemingly unconcerned about the plague that had ravaged the entire world. Marco tried to kill the feeling rising up in his chest, a sensation far stronger than love, something Marco’s father had branded a disgusting sin… Envy. So often, it shadowboxed him into contempt and dust.
A lounging blond girl, with gleaming skin, waved. Marco looked over both his shoulders before realizing she meant him.
When he waved back, she curled her finger in a Come-here motion. He didn’t know what to do with that, so he copied her gesture, Come-here, and to his horror and delight, she did.