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Blue Mist Lake

We come from all over to see it. The majestic lights that rise like mist from the top of the lake. We all want it to be the cure for some problem or another. The couple next to me has come here hoping to save their marriage. They’re hugging and kissing like they just remembered that they love each other, but when they hike out tomorrow morning and go back to wherever it was they came from, nothing will have changed.

The man behind me is sitting in a wheel chair. His legs are crooked. He’s watching the lights flicker and rise above the lake. His face is glowing red, green, blue, purple, yellow and pink, as the lights dance in front of him. His eyes close and he turns his face upward towards the darkening skies. He wants the magic to make him walk again, but he knows it won’t. Wishful thinking, right? Behind him, his wife is patting his shoulder, she leans down, whispers something into his ear and kisses the top of his thinning brown hair.

In the gigantic mob of people that are surrounding me, I can see a big brother holding a younger boy on his shoulders. Their faces are dirty and they’re staring at the lights with expressions of pure joy and amazement. Those are the people that I’m looking for. Out of every face in the crowd, they’re the only ones completely without expectations. They aren’t hoping for the magic of the lake to bring them something. They didn’t come to see a miracle. They trekked all the way out here quite by accident. They were looking for the boy’s camp, a few miles down the road, but got dragged into the stream of tourists come to challenge the lake’s alleged magical powers.

They say that one look at the glowing water could make a deaf person hear and a blind man see? What are people smoking these days? Hundreds trample the plant life and foliage to see the light show and pray that whatever their current problem or ailment is cured by the time they return from whence they came. Most come once and never again make the journey. Several others come to the lake over and over, claiming tradition. Many have tried to buy up the beautiful land around the majestic body of water. As of yet, no one has succeeded and to be perfectly honest, no one ever will.

Those boys, muddy, tired and fresh out of clean water, are who I have been seeking. They are exhausted and both are so sore, even standing is difficult, but the big brother holds the little kid above the heads of everyone so he can get an unobstructed look at the “glowing mist.”

“Can we go closer?” the little brother asks. They are towards the back, standing on a rock to get a better view.

“No buddy, we don’t want to get in anyone else’s way,” his older brother responds kindly. “Besides, we probably aren’t even allowed to be here anyway,” he whispers so that only his brother can hear him. But I can hear him too. I want to tell him that he is welcome, all are welcome. I say nothing.

The glowing, dancing lights fade and one by one, the tourists begin to disappear into the surrounding forests, back to the lives they took a break from, magic fresh on their minds. Each one is thinking that tomorrow they will wake up and be cured, but oh how wrong those folks are. I see the boys talking to someone; being told of the magic that lies within their reach.

“Go closer. You’ll be healed of whatever ails you,” a young woman tells them, pushing the older boy closer to me. The younger child’s face falls. In a small voice he grievingly replies,

“We aren’t the ones who need to be healed.” His gaze falls down to his big brother, who is looking up at him with the same sad eyes. The woman doesn’t notice, she is dragged away with everyone else. I notice.

Minutes later, it seems, the clearing around the small lake is empty, save for the two boys. The little one is standing as close to the water as possible. He is whispering something out loud, almost like a prayer. His big brother comes up behind him and lays a hand on his shoulder.

“Don’t worry buddy, she’ll be okay, even without the operation. We’ve gotta get going though, they’re probably looking for us.” The younger boy looks behind him, his eyes hopeful.

“You think those lights are really magical? You think they could heal Lara?” The older boy shrugged.

“Probably not. Come on.” He took the younger brother’s hand and they turned away from the lake. The didn’t see me until I was right in front of them.

“Here,” I say. I pull out the check with my life savings on it. I fold the piece of paper into the older boy’s hand. “For Lara.” I leave the boys staring after me and slide into the shadows. Just because this lake hasn’t held any magic for me, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be magical for these two boys who were expecting nothing, but needed it more than anyone else.




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Harebelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 15, 2011 at 7:09 pm:
I really like this! Your idea is very creative and I like the ending. It was very heartwarming to read!
 
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