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I dangled my feet off the dock into the calm lake water. The wood was uncomfortable on my exposed legs, and I crossed them, trying to get my leg away from Luke. He sat next to me on the dock, as we had every summer since we were four. Our families are friends, so we became friends too. He was known as the dorky boy next door that everyone made fun of. Well used to make fun of.
“Wow, Luke, look at that fish! It’s so pretty!” I crooned, looking at the fish.
“I think that’s a Yellow Perch, they are common to find here in the lakes.”
“Oh, that’s cool, I guess.” I looked away, my face turning red.
“Hey Chloe, is something bothering you? You seem, distracted tonight like there’s something on your mind.”
I blushed even deeper at his obvious worry. I turned to look at him, taking in how much he had changed over the years, he got contacts to replace his glasses, he lost his baby fat and became muscular, and his blue eyes had gotten flecks of silver in them. I realized I was staring and looked away.
“Uh, no, I’m uh fine.” I mumbled. “Does that fish always look that beautiful?”
“No, actually, they don’t. When they are born, they don’t always have that yellow or orange color, it comes over time.”
“So they grow up to be very attractive?”
Laughing he said.“Yes, I guess you could say it that way.”
“So they go from laughable to dateable.”
“If you would date a fish.” His voice was questioning, unsure of what I was talking about.
“Uhm, no I wouldn’t. Date a fish I mean.”
“Well, that’s good.”
“Are the fish ever blind to things around them? Like could they miss important things happening around them?”
“Chloe, what are you talking about?”
“Like, for example, if another fish happened to like them, would they notice?”
He looked at me with an odd expression on his face, like he smelled something bad.
“Uhm, I don’t know? Why do you even care so much about the dumb fish, it will probably just die in a couple weeks anyways.”
He got up from the dock and brushed his shorts off. Without an explanation he walked off towards the house, no goodbye, no asking if I wanted to join him, he simply stalked off. I stared at the orange striped fish again.
“Thanks a lot, now you have him thinking I’m some sort of freak. It’s not my fault I suck at trying to tell a guy how I feel!”
The fish sat there, unaware of me even talking to him. His tail flicked back and forth, and he looked bored or unconcerned. It looked stupid and oblivious like it didn’t even realize I was sitting in front of him. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the fish reminded me of a guy I knew.