By: Carla Sierra Arzuffi
The ride to the lake is quiet. My dad keeps taping his fingers into the steering wheel, not knowing that it is one of the things about him that annoys me the must.
Tak, tak, tak… taktaktak… tak, tak, tak… taktaktak.
I concentrate on the forest and how the trees seem to blend with the speed of the moving vehicle. I take deep breaths. When we finally arrive at our destination my dad kills the engine and turns to look at me.
He makes the obligated question, again: “So, are you sure you want to do this?”
“Yes” I answer reassuringly and quickly open the door of the car and start walking. The sound of my feet crushing the dry leaves gives me some sort of comfort, although I cant precisely know why.
I can smell it first and then I see it, there it is, the lake. That big and freighting hole in the ground filled with dark green and brown water, and also where my worst nightmare had taken place. It is, as usual, deserted.
I take small, but confident, steps toward the edge, where the water meets the mud and makes the tiniest of waves. In, and out. I stare into the whole panorama. Here I am. This is supposed to be my “moment”, where all the answers come. But nothing is happening, silence.
The only thing “exciting” (before last night) that happened in my life was his death. And that is not exciting, it is tragic and unfair. So yes, I cling to the hope of something great happening to me, even if it comes with misfortune, but not just death, and the horrible dark cloud and feeling that holds you prisoner when it comes.
The breeze is strong, suddenly it starts getting stronger and stronger and I notice that something is wrong; at the very center of the lake a bright yellow light is coming slowly out of the water. I start panicking and I try to turn around to run trough the forest and to the car and my dad; but just like the night before I cannot move my body. The light grows brighter, I cannot take my eyes from it, its like watching two cars heading into a crash, you can not look away, but you want to.
Something is emerging from the cold dangerous water. It looks like a human. The light suddenly disappears and I can see clearly what is there. Tom, it is my Tommy. Now I can see him, not only hear his voice. A gift, a rare gift. The dead mingling with the living. What is he doing here? He said he would come back, but not here, not right now, did he?
He is flouting, Jesus like, on top of the water, his bare feet barley touching it. I have no idea what is going on.
From somewhere, a soft voice starts singing:
“The day has come
Oh the day has arrived
It has been released
There is no going back
Don’t try to fight
No turning back
Something has come
It will be done.”
It all seems strangely familiar. Tom is still not moving. My eye catches something moving at the edge of the lake close to the trees. I can only glimpse her. A young girl, wearing a pretty yellow dress. I hear her sweet laugh, and in this strange moment, even though everything is definitely not as if should be, I envy her. I cannot see her face. She disappears into the forest.
My feet start to move, I am conscious of them doing it, and I know I am the one willing them into movement, but I don’t know why. I get closer and closer to the water. My sneakers start to get soaked, and then the liquid starts to crawl into my jeans, making my legs heavy. I continue moving, I want to stop, but at the same time I don’t want to. I don’t know how to. Its like I am supposed to do this, and somehow deep down , I know. The water is up to my neck, the mud from below feels unstable, I take a last look into the center of the lake where Tommy is. He is smiling and I smile too, and just like that my legs continue walking until my whole body is surrounded by the heavy blackness.
My lungs immediately start to resent the lack of oxygen. I try to take a breath of air and water leaks inside of me. I am drowning, willingly drowning.
I get it.
The exchange. I was supposed to die in this lake. It’s my destiny to drown. Maybe Tommy never saved me, and some years of my future life flashed right in front of my eyes, making me feel like I had lived it. And then maybe he did not die and is still alive out there.
Or maybe all of it did happen, and I will still die here.
“It is time, Caroline” Tommy says “Let go”.
And I do. I let go.
My lungs collapse, filled with water.
I now know that something, what it feels to die.
There is no more oxygen. There is no more life. There is no more thought. Just like that, I cease to exist.
Sorry it took me so long to finish this one.
All my loving.