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Atlantic Boredom

Wednesday, Oct 7, 2020
This article was featured in Issue #6 of the Atlantic Bulletin

For a brief period of time, Zelda and Cobian took it upon themselves to make something of their youth. Cobian fancied herself a gymnast, and though this ambition arrived too late and left too soon, she was quite good at it for a while. Tzipora was better suited on the trampoline, where her stiff leg didn’t give her as much trouble.

They trained for about two hours, and after practice they met up to travel home together. Their gymnasium was in a coastal town called Gigayeh, in the borough of Mirah. Here, sloping lava fields were cast in the sea, buried under fine black sand.

There was an hour and a half after practice before the evening train arrived to take them back home to Lola, and so they were left with not much to do. Gigayeh had beautiful empty beaches, littered with icebergs that caught the light like jewels, but Tzipora couldn’t swim and the water was freezing. They could have enjoyed café food in the sun, but Cobian’s regimented home life had left her incapable of eating outside of her designated meals, and Tzipora could only drink so much coffee. Instead, most of these afternoons, they found themselves sitting on the ocean promenade, watching a handful of locals go about their business as they counted the minutes.

In the moment, it was stupefyingly boring. They’d spent all day at school with each other and usually couldn’t conjure a word between them. Tzipora would make a remark about a seabird, because she liked them. She had been learning a lot about birds. Sometimes they would share a comic, but they read too fast to fill time. Most of it was spent in the sea air, feeling it grow colder as the day waned, watching the same ocean foam throw itself onto glittering volcanic sand.

“I think that’s a horned puffin. That’s special,” Tzipora said out loud. Cobian didn’t even look up. Tzipora squinted.

“No, wait, that’s just a regular one.”

In time, Tzipora would remember this period of her life fondly, and would visit Gigayeh to recapture that peace. As a teen-ager, however, those afternoons seemed to last forever.