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Something Happy

My eyes open to the sight of brown water coming in waves towards the shore, and it takes me a while to realize why the view is sideways. My cheek is pressed against the hard wood of the dock, no doubt leaving a temporary imprint there. I must have been asleep, runs across my bleary mind, but as always, there’s the lingering doubt that maybe I had just been daydreaming, because I don’t remember falling asleep… I only get a second or two to really ruminate on this before the sense of touch comes back to me. Wrapped up in a now-damp towel, the warmth that was my comfort from the cool lake water is now unpleasantly shielding me from the hot sun. I peel the towel off of my boy and spread out on the warm wood, fumbling beside me for my sunglasses and slipping them on. The sun’s rays at first hit me in my still-moist stomach, and I shiver suddenly before relaxing and closing my eyes. Of course I can’t go back to sleep now, lest my head become more muddled, but the sunglasses don’t do much in the way of eye protection, and so I have to shield them naturally. The blaze of the sun fills me up from head to toe, until it burns away every last remaining water droplet and I am baking, a steak put into the oven, soaking up the heat while simultaneously deflecting it. The sunscreen has probably washed away in the lake, but I could care less about sunburn now. I am warm and I am content, and I feel like I could stay out on this dock forever. Let my future self deal with the consequences.

My peace is interrupted, however, by the sound of feet treading down the dock, and then a man’s voice that speaks over me. “Hey.” I slide open my eyes and face him, my lips pulling back from by teeth into a grin. “Hey, yourself.” I slowly roll over and stretch out my sore muscles, and he runs his fingers through his wind-whipped hair.

“Did you fall asleep on the dock again?” There’s humor in his voice. He thinks it’s funny when I take a sunbath and forget to come back inside. I don’t really care what he thinks of it, as long as I get to enjoy it. I nod in response to his query, and a smile of his own touches his face. “It’s about time for lunch. Why don’t you come inside?”

“Sure,” I say, and clamber to my feet, bracing myself as the blood rushes to my head. I stare out over the lake with a wistful glance. It will be hard to go inside without one last swim… Suddenly I throw my sunglasses off and leap feet-first into the water. SPLASH! The cold temperature at first is a shock, but after the initial jolt as I swim to the surface and pop up gasping for air, the chill is a welcome change from the scalding sun that burned my skin. I float on my back and begin to swim for the shore, and he laughs at my folly, following me as he walks down the dock. I can tell, however, that seeing me in the water makes him want to come in and join me. But there will be time for more swimming after lunch.

I lug myself onto land like an overgrown mermaid and stick my feet into my flip-flops, feeling the pleasant squelch of water between my toes. Then I approach him courteously and take his hand. We walk back up to the house together, just in time to see what’s for lunch.




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