My father says our town is like a skeleton of a place. The streets grow quiet in summertime when the heat chases everybody North. He says drought and silence make for a bony city. I’ve memorized the smell of the empty gas station on a hot afternoon. Delilah stains her lips orange with ice as we stand on the corner and count passing cars. My father doesn’t like it here and I wonder why we never leave.
On Saturdays, Delilah drags me and her stolen canoe out onto the lake that is really more of a pond. Under the canopy of leaves it is almost cool. She makes us row until my arms are sore and when I stop she holds my face in her hands and tells me to look up.
“What do you see?”
“It’s so blue.”
She stares up at the sky but I am only looking at her eyes.
“Does this look like a bony city to you?”
“No. No it doesn’t.”
Gianna Goodman-Bhyat is a sixteen-year-old high school junior living in Los Angeles. Her passion for reading and writing has been evident from a young age, and she now devotes much of her time to student activist efforts that aim to protect the freedom to read and combat book bans. Gianna is also a musical theatre enthusiast, and enjoys singing along to broadway soundtracks at all moments of the day.