With Rounded Edges
By Kayla Walford
“With Rounded Edges” is a piece made to encapture the childlike, nostalgic feeling of the most simplistic version of love. This excerpt is the end of the story, leaving an open-ended finish that encourages the reader to continue the story of Paige and Amara on their own.
I have taken an affinity for shooting at the whales in the sky.
It’s not like the bullets hit anywhere near them. The bullets probably landed somewhere further off, down into the forest, behind Amara’s vacation house. I didn’t shoot for my accuracy. It was for the thrill of the bang! and the backfire, like someone roughly shoving my shoulders, and the smell of the muzzle after the bullet had shot off. I squinted again and focused.
Footsteps thudded down the steps inside the house, and the screen door flapped open. Light footsteps joined me on the porch. “You know, the target range is always an option.”
I shrugged. “I like the scenery here more.” I raised the pistol again and she shuffled closer. I lowered my arms and sighed. “Amara, if you stand too close I can’t concentrate.”
“I regret giving you my dad’s gun,” Amara shook her head. “But I came out to see if you wanted any of this!” She thrust a large cardboard box at me so forcefully the pistol in my hand clattered out of my grasp.
I laughed. “Shut up, I don’t need that! My apartment’s too full of your stuff now, you know.” I took the box anyway.
While I ruffled through the hand-me-downs, Amara plopped down next to me. “Those whales sure are something, huh?” I hummed. “God, they’re so beautiful. They look lovely against the sunset too. Imagine if we were up high with them; we could, like, run on their backs, or look at how small people are below, or watch the sunsets without any trees blocking the view.” She paused, then laughed. “I’m sorry, that sounded so silly.”
I laughed with her. “Yeah, a little.”
We watched the whales in silence as the sunset started to deepen in color. I picked out a pretty dress from Amara’s box and a weird little cat sculpture I found funny. When the sky reached a deep red, the whales started their cries. “Frickin’ amazing,” Amara commented. “What’re they doing, a, uh, whaddayacallit, a mating call? Paige, you’re the one with the marine biology major.”
I scoffed, “Yeah, but I’m only a freshman.” I paused. “But yeah, they’re mating calls.”
Amara laughed and hefted herself up. “You’re silly. I want to see them closer up, wanna come?”
I followed her into the kitchen. Amara pulled out a bottle of wine her parents forgot to take out of the cabinet last year. She wiggled it and grinned, like we weren’t nineteen.
We trudged up the hill we used to sneak out to as kids. It felt strange, being allowed to come up here now. We laid down on the grass and watched the whales pump their fins and glide on the breeze. I thought of Amara’s dad’s pistol, bang, bang, bang, and the bullets flying into the forest. We left the wine forgotten at our side and just talked instead. Sometime around when the sky was painted navy blue on the edges, our hands got tangled together. The whales started up a cry that was unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. Amara fell silent.
“Man, that’s weird. Do whales really make that sound?”
“Do whales sound like that? Like the actual ones, under the sea.”
“I have no idea.”
Kayla Walford is a high school junior, writer and artist. She has been published in anthologies Taking Our Place in History (as feature writer) and Gwan (as feature artist). Kayla is best known for writing and illustrating the beauty of life, nature and people. When not creating, Kayla spends her time watching cat videos or browsing Pinterest for more inspiring ideas.
A MONTH IN REVIEW: ABROAD IN COPENHAGENby Joanna Tan