Reflections of a lake

March 1, 2009
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She glared at her distorted face reflected on the lake she had once loved... they had once loved. She couldn't help noticing that a reflection was missing. Grey clouds covered the sky and pressed down on her, seemingly seeping into her mind, blurring slightly the vivid memories of their love. She couldn't decide whether forgetting was a good thing, a part of letting go, or if it was part of the punishment. When the memories begin to fade, the once clear images begin to blur at the edges and the once crisp words become muffled and fake, is that when the pain and guilt subsides? Or is that when it is fully realised? When there is no going back, there is no longer the past to retreat to, only the lonely future to face. She sighed and her mind drifted, as it often did, to the future, her new future, the future of missing reflections and clouded memories. She focused on her face on the water again but avoided looking into her own eyes, the same way he had avoided them after he'd found out. They had always enjoyed watching as a small bug would skid across the water, sending ripples across the entire lake, the way one small insect could make such a difference in that big lake. The way they had wanted to make a difference, like that one moment of fear had created such a difference. Breathing became harder as that night filled her mind, that memory at least was crisp with guilt. Trying to the night and the regret out of her mind she quickly leapt to her feet and pulled off her jacket and her shoes, throwing them aside as she dove head first into the lake.
He tried not to make a sound as he walked through the thick forest on his way to their lake. Being wary had always served him well, he wondered why he had so completely disregarded that strategy with her. She filled his mind once more sending familiar waves of nausea and longing through his chest and stomach. He paused for a moment to take a deep breath and decided to not think of her until he was beside the lake, where he might be able to bare it. His mind wouldn't rest, he realised how desperately he wanted her to be there, waiting in the depths, ready to give him life again, but he quickly pushed this thought aside. How could someone you would die for in a heartbeat, kill so much of you in a single action? He tried to quiet his mind, but the question pierced into his brain and made its way through his whole body, his sudden intake of breath broke the calm silence of the forest. The leaves on the trees rustled in the wind acknowledging his pain and urging him forward, he just needed to reach the lake. He bent over and put his hands on his knees for a moment before continuing to walk in silence, breathing deeply. His arms subconsciously crept across his stomach, as if trying to hold himself together as the lake came into view. The site of her didn't surprise him, but he froze and bent down behind a bush nearby, gazing at her hard. Her posture was bent as she stared intently into the lake, he wondered if she saw her beauty the way he does... did. He couldn't help but ask himself how she could have done this, how either of them could find the strength to get off their knees from the weight of it all...Their love had consumed him so completely, it was passionate, sudden and frightening in its power, maybe that's what drove her to...
He closed his eyes for a moment and rubbed his temples, love like that changes you, he still felt it as strongly as before and even considering a life without her, gave him a headache. He jerked his eyes open at the sound of a splash, and without thinking he ripped off his runners and his sweat shirt and dove in after her.
The water made her feel free and light. It swept around her making her hair and clothes dance and her mind quiet, she closed her eyes and let the water consume her, she didn't want to surface, she could so easily pretend in the depths.
He swam swiftly along the stony bottom until he could make out her blurry, suspended figure. For a moment he forgot the last few days of being alone and she found her way into him again, she filled his lungs, she calmed his thudding heart and cleared his troubled mind. He didn't want to ever surface, he never wanted to face the sky and the truth. Her eyes opened and she spotted him and suddenly swam for the surface, just as suddenly, he remembered, and the pain returned.
The sight of him forced the air to rush out of her lungs and the calm to quickly vanish. She reached desperately for the surface and sucked in the air greedily the moment her head touched the sky, her heart in overdrive. His head emerged a meter away and their eyes locked on each other. Their ragged breaths were the only sound they heard and each other's eyes the only sight they saw. She watched as his eyes clouded over and his face crumpled in pain, the look of hurt on his face deepened her pain so severely she grabbed her stomach. His head disappeared so she took a deep breath and followed him into the depths.
He let the weight of the betrayal pull him down to the dark, bottom of the lake. She swam towards him, arms outstretched and he wondered if it would be weak to reach back, he realised he didn't really care, but the idea of how her touch would feel be different kept his arms on the stones below.
She swam as hard as she could toward him, reaching for his safe and comforting arms. He didn't move from his position at the bottom of the lake but instead simply watched her movements. She stopped swimming, feeling hopeless and let herself float to the surface, arms still outstretched.
He kicked up off the bottom and swam towards the surface, he couldn't fight the urge to breathe any longer and he couldn't fight the urge to follow her. He broke the surface, much closer to her than he'd planned, their noses were almost touching and he absorbed her pain stricken expression. The pain became his own and he quickly reached for her, pulling her close and holding her head above the water.
Her racking sobs threatened to pull her under. Suddenly his faced filled her vision and she cried harder, slipping under slightly and choking as the water slipped into her mouth and throat. She gasped as his strong arms wrapped around her and pulled her up. She pressed her lips into his automatically, he let go and increased the distance between them, she fought to keep her head above the water, desperately wanting to sink to the depths and let the water and the guilt hold her down.
The touch of her lips sent waves of longing through his body but he fought his automatic response to succumb and pulled away.
'No... no I can't' He whispered, breathing heavily.
'I'm sorry, I didn't mean...' She tried her best to compose herself but she couldn't seem to stop the tears from pouring down her face.
'I should go' he mumbled hating the coldness in his voice as he turned to swim to the shore.
'Wait!' She gasped. 'Just... can we just, sit...?'
He wasn't sure what made him turned and swim in the other direction, towards their place, maybe it was the desperation in her voice or maybe he was just too tired to fight himself anymore.
They swam silently side by side until they reached the shore and lay down, their heads aligned, but their bodies along different paths. Their breath slowed and the wind pressed their soaking clothes against their skin, they didn't notice the sun setting or the rain clouds forming.
'I can feel it between us.' She whispered.
'I know' He sighed.
'And I can feel it in you, and... I... know I can't fix it, and I want to, I desperately want to change what I did, but I can't and I guess... I'm just lost...and I know you can't forgive me, I can't forgive myself'
Her words washed over him and he sighed.
'Why did you do this? Please...I don't understand and I need to know.' He felt her wince at his hard tone but he was too conflicted to reach out and comfort her.
'I don't know why... I just got scared... you were just so certain and I loved you so much and all I could feel was fear, I didn't.... I don't.... I never thought I would feel like this, I didn't think love could be so over powering I just wanted things to be easy again... So I kissed him...because it was simple...and, there is no excuse.' She realised that nothing she could say could close the gap between them, so she stopped and let the hopelessness wash over her.
They both lay there silently; her guilt, his anguish, their joint suffering and the undeniable longing between them blew around in the breeze.
'I...just can't' he breathed.
'I need you...' she whispered turning to face him, her throat tightening at the sight of his tears.
'I need you to.' He turned to her, neither trying to hide anything from the other.
'I'm so sorry' She knew it wasn't enough as she closed her eyes, unable to watch the torment in his eyes.
He turned his body so it was in line with hers and met her lips softly; the kiss quickly deepened as they hungrily drank in each other's taste, scent and touch. The love passing between them was redefined, more desperate and less innocent but just as powerful.
He knew it wasn't logical, he knew he should be wary and scared but he couldn't fight her, and he didn't want to.
She put all of herself into the kiss and trembled at the force of their need for one another. He felt her tears and her tremble and held her tighter, the only thing left was him, her and their lake. They both knew it wouldn't be so easy, though he could forgive, neither could forget but both were ready.
They sat huddled together, beside their lake, as the sun started to dip behind the trees they stared at their reflection in the water. She watched as the light breeze caused their faces to bend and alter and she thought of how they were a reflection of their former selves, altered yet the same, she decided it didn't matter because there were two reflections, and there always would be.

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