[o fontana] by matt burns

So two Americans are sitting in a Swedish sauna with four Belgians, two Austrians, and two Turks in Iceland on a cold February night. The sweat rolls off the back of the larger and hairier of the two Turks and nearly hits the leg of the American guy. So the American guy turns to the American girl and says “What should we do next?” The American girl says, “Let’s jump in the lake.”

That’s the punchline of a terrible joke. Because it’s not funny to suggest jumping into a frozen lake in February in ICEland. No one thinks that is fun, except for Steph. And she could convince the red off a rose.

That’s why my bare feet are slipping on icy dock stairs and taking me into the thickest, coldest darkness my bare chest has ever greeted. Between shivers, my lips countdown from three. My brain screams curses down to my lips. Pins immediately stick into my legs as life drains from them. Lifeless, they still somehow run a bit further into the darkness, my crotch pleading that we go no further. My arms flail upwards, not wanting anything to do with this charade. Overhead, my hands dance happily and celebrate my arms’ decision to revolt. Steph passes by my eyes in a streak back towards the stairs. My feet and legs get the signal and, racked with regret, chase after her. My crotch and its uptown friends rejoice. We all dive into a geothermal-heated 95 degree pool. Pins prick back into my legs. Everyone’s confused, but happy to be hugged by something that isn’t coated with ice. My eyes close and my lungs let out a sigh of sweet relief.

“We have to go back and forth five times,” Steph chirps.

HIGH ALERT. Feeling is back everywhere and the feeling is terror.

But she can convince the brown off of shit. My metaphors have become less cheery since she made me jump in a lake five times.

At Laugarvatn Fontana


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