Jolie Day :: Summer Walk 2008 ::

Creative Non-Fiction

Southern Legitimacy Statement: from a college town as a bona fide townie, I grew up in Carrboro, North Carolina, and if you know, you know it’s different from Chapel Hill. The long disputed border is a burrito restaurant and a bike shop. While I live in Maine now, my northern exile, I still deeply feel rooted in the piedmont of North Carolina. My work is deeply rooted in a specific time and place, the mid 2000s in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. I have extensive diaries and sketchbooks from this time, and draw directly from source material, channeling the voice of my former, brooding, teenage self. Passages such as “Go to hell Rachel and Jacob!” Who are they? What’d they do? The circumstances this girl winds up in are absurd, debauched, and messy. These situations include tangling with first loves, trying to find places to smoke without getting caught, and struggling with body image. Even though my work is set in a highly specific time and place, my hope is that readers everywhere will relate, laugh, and empathize as they take it all in.

Summer Walk 2008

Every phase of the walk to his house is timed with each checkpoint’s marker. 
It’s mid summer, 
Which is still the sexy part of summer. 
I like wearing cut-offs, 
Working on my tan, under a white sky.
I walk fast and my flip flop bends under my toes. 

I reached the BP, looked around. 
If there's some guy standing around,
I could ask them to buy me cigarettes. 
It’s always a guy that will do it. 

I walk to the grocery store. 
Behind the grocery store are the railroad tracks that take me closer. 
My flip flop bends under my toes again. 
This time on the gravel between the tracks. 

Woods and the backs of apartment buildings on either side of the tracks. 
There’s standard train track junk .
A blue screw top bud light tall boy, 
Mountain dew bottle,
Wendy’s bag, 
More tall boys. 
Homeless people are up ahead, and look at me. 
I feel like I’m intruding because I am.
My need for being here is very reasonable. 

I wish I could send this telepathic message:	
“I need to take these tracks.
It’s a shortcut to my boyfriend’s house.You see, his dad is at work right now, 
We need more time to smoke weed,Fuck. 
It is all carefully timed. I am a professional at time management. 
This is why I need to intrude on your space.
I am very sorry, and hope you understand.”

The message did not go through.
I walk by. 
Tight smile,
Little wave.
Down through the woods		
A cluster of vacant houses.
Built in the early 2000’s.
No one ever bought them. 
I think my dad said there was a 
Housing crash. 
Whole neighborhoods of empty houses. 
Kudzu lives there.

I get scared that
Someone might be in there.
I walk faster.

Blackberry vines cut my legs.
I don’t wear pants, only cut-offs.
I’m working on my tan. 

Grabbing berries, 
Biting them in half, 
Smearing all around my lips. 
It’s a doop for lip gloss! 
I am going to look so hot.

Head down to the drainage creek.
A big pipe across it. 

Gripping the pipe with my feet. 
Knees bent.
Making my way across. Please don’t let me eat shit. 
Made it. 
I trip through more thorns. Mango Swisher wrapper.
Poison ivy. 

The drainage creek opens up.
A real creek,
Overlooking a 
Picnic shelter, 
A trash can with
Wasps swarming.
Moms sit praying their kids don’t come over, 
Asking them to play, 
Solve some problem, 
Look at an important rock. 
Walking faster now. 
I’m almost there. 
Flipping open my phone,
T9 text, 
“1 sec”. 

I creep up to my boyfriend's house.
I’m so sneaky.
It’s noon.
His dads at work.
Perfect timing.
All factors accounted for. 
I am a professional.