Imagine a diner at three in the morning, not far from the west coast waters your toes first touched just three months before.
Seated around you are friends you barely know because you didn’t let yourself know those type of people, because just three months before they disgusted you. They scared you and they reminded you of what a coward you were when you didn’t tell your friends and family in Georgia that you were one of those people, too. You, with them, at the table make eight. More will come later.
This is your first time in the diner, but not theirs. They’re greeted by a blue-aproned woman, wide and comfortable with her girth. They call her Large Marge and she accepts it. You don’t understand the reference yet but your new friends and Large Marge seem to have fun with it.
Large Marge carries no pen or paper but takes each order anyway. She’s got this. It’s her trick and your friends love her for it. You wonder why someone with a trick like that works at a diner instead of working in linguistics like you and your friends. This is before you learn in September that language won’t be all you do.
Your feet under the table are covered in sand from a ritual two hours ago, invoking the good grace and well-wishes from the Goddess, a clear bottle shaped like a headless torso filled to the brim with blue sand and seashells. That night you learned about "camp", though you didn't know the word for it yet.
Large Marge doesn’t seem to mind your sandy feet. You’re told in hushed whispers that she’s a goddess too, and perhaps the same Goddess, blue sand made flesh. Your food comes exactly as ordered. It’s quite good and you think maybe there’s something to that goddess thing.
You come back to base that night smelling like bacon and cigarettes, full of memories that stick and last longer than most. You broke a rule to bond with these people, and you’ll do it again.