My eyes fly open and my heart beats like mad. I blindly look around the dark room and for a moment I am not sure what has happened and where I am. Slowly my brain begins to function and I realize that I am lying in my bed in the musty old cabin that I now call home. The memories of last night's dreams run together in an intricate spider web. I can remember the people from one dream, but not the plot, and all I remember of another dream is the plot. I open my mouth to yawn and my lungs fill with the early morning air. It is surprisingly cold for the beginning of August. I pull my quilt up higher and consider letting myself drift back to sleep. My eyelids begin to feel heavy but my determination wins, and I push the quilt off as I pull my legs out of the tangle of blankets. As I sit up, my head hits the ceiling of the cabin. I stifle a yelp so as not to wake my bunkmates. I feel a sharp pain in the top of my head. Carefully I climb down the ladder. Everyone else is still asleep, lost in a world of dreams. I open my old trunk and pull out a black bathing suit. It is still damp from yesterday afternoon's swim. I pull off my pajamas and a cold breeze whips against my skin. All the hairs on my arm stand up as if soldiers at attention. I pull on my damp bathing suit and begin to shiver. Quickly I look for a sweater and a pair of pants. I grab a towel, throw on a pair of sandals, and head for the door. I push the door open very slowly to keep it from creaking, but even so an enormous Krrreeekk breaks the silence. Quickly I leave the cabin and begin down the path to the lake. Everything is gray except for the faintest light behind the trees. The only noises are the ones I make as I step on dry leaves and fallen twigs. Although it is cool, the air wakes me, filling me with energy. I pass familiar trees, trees that I have passed all summer but not really noticed until today. I look up to the sky and it is as though a blanket of leaves lies over me. I notice one tree with no leaves and I wonder what happened to it. I reach the end of the path where the woods meet the beach. I slip off my sandals and let my feet sink into the cool sand. I love the way it feels between my toes. I trudge through the sand to the dock. The sky has gotten lighter and the gray covering that, moments before, had enveloped the world has begun to melt away, leaving behind a million different colors. I pull off my sweater and my pants, leaving them and my towel in a heap on the dock. The air no longer seems so cold as it covers my body. Carefully I walk to the end of the dock. I look toward the horizon which lays across the sparkling lake. It is seconds before the sun will burst up over that line between earth and sky. I put my feet together; everything around me seems to wait in anxious anticipation. I stretch my hands over my head and look down; the water is perfectly still. I take a deep breath, push off the dock with my toes, and dive into the water as the bright sun shoots up into the sky, bathing the world in its warmth and light. I come up for a breath and am greeted with a world just waking. I drift back into the water and begin my early swim as everyone else begins to wake up. c
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.