South Virginia

‘I never knew that South Virginia wasn’t a state.’ He says taking a sip of his coffee, savoring for a second. ‘I mean… like, I never checked but I always assumed that it was just… that there’s are all these other cardinal direction names for random states like North Carolina or West Virginia or South Texas.’

‘There’s no South Texas. South Texas would be Mexico!’ She says.

‘Oh… right’  He immediately tries to move, to break his mistake, but clips the spoon with his oats on it on the edge of his bowl, dropping it and creating a reverberating echo in the cafe. After a brief moment of silence he looks up at her, ‘Let’s go North.’

Sun seeps through the cave, water rushing from 20 feet above, she slips on some damp moss infecting the rocks. ‘I hate that!’

‘Hate what?’ he says turning his body a few rocks ahead of her.

‘That feeling you get after you’ve found stable ground for a few steps but something changes and your equilibrium is off. When I was a kid we had this boat we’d take on the river.’ She grabs a rock and climbs over. ‘My dad would take us on it to go fishing in the Fall, and he’d always look forward to it.’ She stops and looks upwards towards the water drops falling. ‘But he would always, always play this trick on us. We’d be on the boat for a while, and then he’d ask me or my brother to come change the bait. As soon as we’d taken a few steps toward him, and got our footing, he’d grab either side of the boat and rock it.’ She looks down towards him. ‘That feeling, you know? It’s just so discombobulating.’

‘I love that word.’

‘… and he said ‘That Stalin… he was a real JERK.’ he says into a blank stare on her face ‘I think the comedian I saw tell this joke told it better’

‘I think so.’

‘When do you leave again?’ He says.

‘Saturday. But I’ll be back.’


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