My parents took me to the beach for the first time when I was 4 years old. No one thought about sunscreen for the blue-eyed baby. I was completely blistered.

I remember being red, like the hard plastic toys I played with in the sand. I remember the cold blast of Solarcaine on my hot skin. Sitting on the green and black patterned bedspread of the Holiday Inn, my father would pull away long strips of skin from my back when it started peeling.

I hate the sun, hate being hot. Hate that summer burns me - I don't tan. I burn. The skin sloughs off but I am still me inside.

The sun can't burn away the essential quality of ME. If it could, maybe we would form a useful friendship. I'd make a handshake deal with the sun. Would run outside, full force, naked, and let the UV rays transform my body and soul.

Burn deep, through the fat and bone, cut the fog from my brain and hit the darkness I carry. Burn clean, leaving nothing, not even a memory.

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