I only went skinny-dipping once, to help a friend with loneliness. We lowered ourselves into the still pool that sat like a black glass plate in someone’s backyard, the moon elsewhere for the night. We only knew the other was still there because we were talking about other people we wished were there instead: naked in the darkness, vulnerable, and maybe a little in love–not with the body in the water with us, but with the water and a body and the thought of another night like this where lack of clothing isn’t code for lonesome. Maybe in another time, the boy doesn’t leave him and they use pliers to cut through the wire-fence, already shedding their shirts before they’re all the way through. Maybe they pause at the lip of the pool to dip a toe in and see if it’s cold. Maybe the moon is full and has turned the surface silver. Maybe a motorcycle drives by. Maybe in a different version of the evening, I’m not shivering and trying so hard to stay afloat, legs scared to stop moving in case the water is deeper than I thought.

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