Sebastian Matthews is a writer and collagist living in Asheville. He teaches creative writing for the Great Smokies Writing Program. His third collection of poetry, Beginner's Guide to a Head-On...
My boy’s team is meeting at Biltmore Lake to celebrate the end of a long season. The Brownings have reserved a point, replete with fire pit, a couple of picnic tables. Two sturdy ducks with red masks parole the area like boardwalk thugs.
A loose circle of parents drink beer. I watch as Bob stacks wood for the bonfire. Oh, hell, I think, I better help Bob. But as I approach I realize it’s not Bob but some lake staffer filling the wood bin. I keep walking, pretending I didn’t make the mistake. He pretends too.
This is a wealthy community—waspy elite, country club, retiree, golf crowd wealthy.
The wood the young man has delivered is perfectly cut for the pot. The lawns trimmed to fairway length. I hate these kind of places. And, despite myself, I feel at ease in them. On the surface, I fit in. Inside, I am roiling. There are my people’s people, not mine.
I am now approaching the shoreline, which is evenly populated with huge lake houses. There is a trail, “for member’s only.”
“I’m with the Brownings,” I’ll say. “They’ve put me up in their guest quarters.”
The dusk light, the low 70s weather, the steady breeze—all of it feels pre-ordered by the board. I walk until I’m out of sight, just me and the roughneck ducks, the rustling trees.
I trespass until I feel like turning back. No one will know I was here.