Beneath The Surface

April 7, 2012
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I peaked out from under my quilt, watching the sun dance along the walls. I wiggled my toes out from under the silk sheets and breathed in the scents of lavender and freshly cut grass.

I heard the birds twittering merrily outside, and the leaves out on the oak trees playing like a harp in the wind. For a moment I thought it was that unforgettable day -it had started just like this -but I pushed that thought away.

It had happened nearly two years ago. I wouldn't be reliving it today.

I swung my legs out from under the covers and pulled on a sweat shirt over my light blue tank top and black sweat pants. I slid the door to my bedroom open and quietly walked down the stairs on sock clad feet.

Quickly slipping on tennis shoes, I hurried out the screen door and winced as it banged loudly behind me.

I breathed in the fresh morning air. It made me sad to be up here again. Since that day, I didn't come up for almost two years, and everything reminded me of my sweet Edward.

It was Summer. The water was a clear, crisp blue, and the stretch of sand was untouched from the last summer I had been there. Edward and I were wading into the water, smiling at and talking with each other. It was the first time we were dating away from Waterdown, and it felt magical being there with him, that year, even though we did have Auntie Thalia peaking over our shoulders everywhere.

"Gracie, why don't we take the canoe out by that little island there," Edward suggested pointing at the tiny stretch of sand that we called Murrow Island.

I shrugged my shoulders, wishing he would give up on the idea. I wasn't very comfortable out in deep water, because I barely knew how to swim, and thinking about all the huge fish that could be below me in the murky water, turned me queasy.

"Ah, it'll be fun!" he said," come on, Gracie." He held his hand out to me, a smile dancing in his eyes. I could have said no and told him I was afraid, or asked if we could do it later, but instead I took his hands and followed him up on the sand.

"Have you ever canoed all the way out there?" Edward asked me, rapping my shivering arms in a bright yellow beach towel. He was so caring for me.

"No. At least not by myself," I answered ringing out my brunette hair." Before my dad left, he would take me out there all the time." I couldn't help feeling sad. I hadn't spoken to my dad in three years and now I was going to canoe out to the island -one of his favorite things- without him.

"Is everything okay?" Edward asked me.

"Yeah...." I answered pulling on some flip-flops.

"Great!" He exclaimed," Let's go."

'Stop it,' I thought,' stop thinking about the past. It makes you too sad.' I walked down to the little stretch of beach were Edward and I used to swim and tan in the Summer sun. Violets and Dandelions had sprouted along the edge and cat tails emerged from the lake. It was too pretty to hold memories so sad.

The water was so cruel, and yet so beautiful.

I continued walking until the water was lapping at my tennis shoes. I kicked those off and waded slowly in. I looked all around, as if expecting to see Edward smiling and laughing like he used to. Those times were over. Why did I still yearn for his smile after two years?

I'd been through counseling and gotten control of my feelings -so why was he still haunting my mind.

'Because of what happened. Because of how stupid I was,' I thought a tear tracing it's way down my cheek.

The life-jacket was way too tight, the canoe looked like it could fall apart at any moment, and I was getting splinters from sitting on that wooden board, but I pretended I was having lots of fun, and laughed along with Edward as he tried to buckle his life-jacket.

"Never mind," he said setting it on the dock," I swim like a fish, anyways." I didn't argue -he could swim better than anyone I knew, and It wasn't too far out to the island.

I was wrong. It was very far. By the time we were anywhere near the middle, my arms had turned to jello from rowing. I tried not to pant, but in vain.

"Why don't we take a little brake, alright Gracie?" Edward said laying his paddle across his legs.

"That's a good idea," I agreed. The sun seemed ten times as hot out here without the trees to lay down shadows for us. I squinted back the way we'd come,"Maybe we should be getting back. We don't want Auntie wondering where we got to."

But Edward didn't hear me. He was looking at something in the water that shined in the sun. He tried to reach out and get it, but he was several feet away.

"Don't bother about that, Eddy," I said," probably just a rock. Let's get back to paddling." He shook his head.

"I want to see what it is," and he started standing up. I pulled him back down and for a moment I was afraid the boat may completely tip over. It rocked violently.

"Don't go in the water, please!" I begged him. But he was too curious, and he couldn't leave things alone. He jumped in and swam towards it. I sat there biting my finger nails and watching his head bob up and down in the water.

He was an excellent swimmer, but accidents did happen.

He reached the object and looked a little disappointed. He held it up for me to see, as his legs kept his head from sliding under. It was just a smooth stone caught in some lake weeds. It was beautiful but not the lovely treasure Edward had probably imagined.

I gestured for him to come back to the boat, but he was intent on freeing the rock of it's prison. That was his downfall.

I walked toward the boat house, where we kept our one and only canoe. A bright blue tarp was draped over it to keep the wood from rotting and the paddles, and life-jackets were sitting in the bottom. I tugged on the front until I had lured it out of the shed and then I pushed it down into the water. It dipped and jerked, but I plopped in and fitted a life-jacket over me.

The paddles felt strange in my hands and the seat, after two years, still gave me splinters.

I started rowing -not really caring where the strokes took me. I wished maybe I would stop thinking about the past, but I couldn't stop myself. The memories flooded back as I got closer and closer to the middle.

I watched Edward as he freed the stone and attempted to swim back. By now I had drifted a good ten feet away from our original spot and I couldn't quite tell what was wrong.

He started tugging on something below the waters surface and then attempted to swim again. Fearing for his safety, I tried to paddle towards him.

In my haste, I dropped one of the paddles into the lake, and I didn't cover enough ground with one to get to him in time. He was struggling too much and the lake weeds he was tangled in were equally thrashing about at the bottom of the lake. His free arm tried to untangle them but it got stuck too.

He was only staying above the surface by kicking his one free foot, and slowly the water lapped over his chin, and then his mouth. I dug into the waves, spraying water in an arc behind me, but it was no good.

His nose went under when I was still far away. By the time I got to him, he wasn't breathing. I pulled him out of the water, but there was no heart beat and there was no pulse.

My Edward was dead.

I had rowed to the middle of the lake and was staring at the weeds that killed Edward. They coiled and waved beneath the surface. It's amazing the little things that change your life. Like a lake weed, or a stone.

But it's the big things that make us think. After Edward died I didn't want to be never-says-what-she-thinks sort of girl anymore. That's why Edward's dead. I decided to take control of my life.

He's gone in the flesh, but I'll see him one day. Because when he died, people said he went to heaven. He was a Christian. And because of that, so am I now. He was always joyful, and smiling.

I'll see him again one day. That's a big thing.

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