The Lake

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Sunset over LakeThe fat skin of summer lay indulgently across everything: screened in porches with wilted ceiling fans, tall reams of lemonade that pooled tears down glasses and stained wood tables, and the humidly limp curls of first-born sons, glazed-eyed and red-cheeked, sticking to their mothers’ breasts.

He gazed across the glass-still water, which trembled ever so slightly in anticipation of being shattered.  He lightly fingered the equipment that would soon thrust him to the center of the water’s mystery.

He had come, once again, during the thickest heat, to search for what his mother had so innocently, carelessly lost.  It had only taken a breathless moment for the water to steal his mother’s greatest treasure.  So deft and silent, it seemed to question the very existence of such preciousness.  As though it had all been a startlingly real dream that his mother could never quite shake off.

He could always tell when she was thinking of it.  Her hands would flutter to her neck like a wounded bird and her eyes would pool with confusion; a bewilderment to find herself in a place unknown and unexpected.

He took a deep breath and the swollen air fought from being drawn into his lungs.  He claimed it anyway in a victory reminiscent of suffocation.

In a moment the water would part for him so that he could coil and wend his way into the grey-green darkness to caress fronds and delicately sift silt.  His eyes and fingers questing in the murky blur, a constant question in every touch.  He would come back again and again and again until he found the priceless pearl that his mother had lost, so that he could return it to her, and she could enfold once more that which had always been hers, and they could both know completion.

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