van on fire

I go down to the beach, or what little there is of it, with a couple of other people. There are long breakers coming in and rolling way up the shore. I say, I wonder how cold it is, and test the water with my foot and am surprised to find it so warm. I say I’m going swimming, and they tell me to hurry, that we don’t have long. I’m wading in and about to dive into a wave when something dark washes by. I follow it as it’s swept along for awhile until I can catch up with it. I pick it up out of the water, and we’re speculating about what it may be. It’s a piece of metal that seems to have once been a loop but was sheared away and broken. We wonder if it was part of a boat or dock.

I’m sitting in a loose circle of people in an institutional room with large windows. We’re getting ready to have a discussion, but there’s a long moment where it seems no one knows how to begin. I speak up and say, Could we identify a facilitator? Just then a woman who has just arrived says, It’s okay, I’ll take it from here. She starts going around the circle and giving each of our names and a little piece of trivia or humorous commentary about each of us. When it comes to me, I give my maiden name and then apologize and amend that to my married name. She makes a joke about how clear it is that I’m from the midwest.

I look out the window and say, That van is really on fire. A couple of people jump up and run out. That’s not their van, but a couple of cars down is theirs. As they pull out, I can see how melted and blistered it is from the heat.

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