The ice was black, lightly dusted with powdery white snow, creating a mottled pattern that reminded Lydia of leopard skin as she made her way across the slippery surface.She had never done this before.Echo lake would freeze over every winter but no one ever trusted it.Still,she was in a hurry to get back home to see her new nephew who had just come home from the hospital.She made it half way through the lake.Her friend Martha begged her not to cross and to just go around the massive body of water but she just reassured her friend she would be fine it was well frozen over.Had been now for a couple of weeks.She wanted to see the smitten image of her brother,three years seemed like an eternity since the baby's father and her brother had been recruited away.Oh how she missed him and his teasing,though four years older than her they were always close.Growing up on a small country farm would do that to a brother and sister.Since her twenty-two year old brother joined the army,she'd been angry with him for leaving.She realized now how selfish she had been.He was out there saving millions of lives risking his,she was proud of him."Lydia!",She jerked her head up and saw her brother standing at the edge of the bank.She still couldn't make out his face from where she was but she knew it was him,her brother had come home.Tears filled her eyes as she began to walk faster trying to steady herself on the slippery ice."Caleb!" she said waving her hand vigorously back and fourth."What are you doing home? Does Kate know?" "Lydia Stop! Don't move!"She slowed down "Caleb it's fine,it's frozen ov--" the most terrifying noise she had ever heard shot through her ears.She whirled around and faced the huge crack shooting towards her.She stood there frozen unable to move."Lydia! Run!"Caleb screamed pulling her out of her stupor.She bolted towards the bank as fast as she could while slipping on the ice.Her feet fell out from under her but she bolted right back up in sheer panic making her way towards her brother.She was getting closer now.He didn't want to step on the ice and make it crack to where she was running to.All he could do was watch helplessly and pray that she would reach the bank safely.The noise stopped.Twenty feet away from the bank and her brother,so did Lydia."Lydia." his arms were stretched out ready for her to run into."You need to keep moving." Lydia,eyes closed shook her head."I can't,I can't",she whispered."Lydia," her eyes remained closed as if to block out all what was happening."Look at me." she slowly lifted her head and met his gaze."Walk slowly to me.I won't let anything happen to you."he motioned with his hands out in front of him.She let out a nervous laugh."Did they train you to say stuff like that?" he smiled.She took a step as the ice made a loud creaking noise."Keep coming."Without warning the Ice beneath her began to crumble."Lydia!" She jumped into the air to try to get to the solid piece on the other side but it broke apart and left her body halfway in the water.Her fingernails dug into the cold numbing ice."Caleb I'm slipping!"she looked towards the bank, he was already half-way to her.She kicked her numb legs as fast as she could.He neared her then laid on his stomach spreading his weight across the not as thick as she thought ice."Give me your hand."his hand stretched out towards her.Her fingers were anchored into the frozen water.She knew if she would let go she would just sink deeper,but she had to try.Ripping her right hand out of the ice she gave one last kick and grabbed his warm hand.With one yank she was pulled out of the water and at his side.She laid on her back taking in stinging breaths."Can you stand?" his blue eyes peered into hers."Listen" she heard the terrifying crack as the ice got ready to break out from under them.With all his might Caleb shoved her sending her sliding across the ice and away from the pit that sucked him in."Caleb!"she didn't see him he was already submerged underwater.It was all her fault! She should have never crossed the Lake."Caleb!" she called out for him again but she didn't see his head surface.She laid on her belly and pushed herself towards the hole.Right then he surfaces,lips blue gasping for breath as he grabs the edge of the ice."Lydia get to the bank!"She hurries and pulls off her coat..Lydia laid her coat out tossing him the coat arm while holding the other.She backed away so it wouldn't cave in again,sending both of them helplessly into the frigid water."I'm not going anywhere now grab the coat.That's an order."she didn't know why she was joking at a time like this.It was more of a joke to hid her fear.To her surprise he smiled and did as she said.With all her might she crawled backwards pulling as hard as she could till he was safely on the ice surface.She didn't stop there,she pulled until they were both safe on the lightly snow covered ground.Her body tingled."Thank you Caleb."He laughed."Just don't go swimming in lakes under fifty degrees again."she coughed a laugh."Lydia?" She sat up and turned to see her father,puzzlement written on his face.He walked to her and helped her up."What happened?" He wrapped his coat around her."I was walking from Martha's.I thought the lake would have been frozen enough to walk over but the ice broke and I fell in but Caleb--" she turned to face Caleb.He was gone."Caleb? Where is he? He was just right here dad he came home!" her father grabbed her shoulders and faced her to him.His face softened"Lydia.You know Caleb died eight months ago." Hard reality hit her as tears burned her eyes.Her mind went back to the day of his memorial.But It had all been real,he saved her."Come on.Lets get you warm." They neared the house as she looked back towards the lake.There he stood in his ACU uniform with three hero badges pined to his chest.Their Nations hero,her hero.She gave him a smile and he smiled back.They were on the back porch that faced the frozen lake."He looks just like him you know." her dad said as Kate,the baby's mother,handed him the little bundle."His names Caleb." Kate added.Tears filled Lydia's eyes as the little baby held tight to her finger.Her dad was right,she noted the little button nose and his dads banjo eyes.He was a memory reborn.
A Memory Reborn
November 9, 2011