Perhaps the Simplest of Loves.

It was the first of October. Some would say its just a new paper to flip through a calendar. Was it? My lips curved before I could stop myself. For the first time, I didn't regret waking up to see another day. *** 5 years ago I picked up a smooth, flat pebble from the edge of the greenish lake and studied its weight in my hand before launching it into the water. The surface broke beneath its impact, sending ripples out in all directions. As I watched, the ripples grew weaker and eventually disappeared. Suddenly, I wanted that pebble back. But I knew even if I got it back, I would still toss my favorite pebble into the lake again, just to see how far it could go compared to the others. As I sighed, I couldn't help but think about how small and insignificant one thing could seem in comparison to everything else in life. "Why are you always so reckless?" my mama would say. I silently laughed over the irony; Mama never used to be independent, but made it look like I was the one who made her lose everything. Did I? I looked down at the distorted blurry reflection of me on the surface of the frozen water. Ah, I wonder what it would feel like to be frozen in time like this lake... I closed my eyes, momentarily reveling in the winter air, yearning for a well-deserved nap. And then, the silence shattered. A distant sobbing reached my ears, cutting through the tranquillity like a blade. Panicked, my eyes snapped open. The source eluded my vision, but the cries continued with —aching bones and…and need for help…. There was blood on my hands. Everywhere. Was it mine? A bird called. Bird sounds? I looked down, there was no blood on my hands. Was I hallucinating again? I am going crazy. The sound of tears falling onto the lake water made me realise this was reality again. The girl was crying at the lake? I hadn't even bothered to check the banks. Then there she was. Her eyes were filled with tears and red and puffy, but oh god. Perhaps she was both the moon, the sun and the stars. Because it seems my eyes were lying to me. A few watery hiccups broke my trance, or disturbing astonishment at her beauty. Should I really approach her..? Will I seem like a prat for ruining her crying session? Will she get angry and throw a rock at me for being nosy? I went behind her quietly and lightly tapped her shoulder. “Hey,” I paused awkwardly. Suddenly I got alarmed as she became still, like a statue that has been caught moving. This is why I should not be in the place of comforting a person, no matter how bad I feel for her. The uncertainty faded as determination settled in. If I risked a rock to the face, so be it. "uh…" I gestured toward her tears, avoiding direct eye contact. "Are you crying?" Never mind. I should get thrown in the lake instead of a rock thrown at my face. She didn't say anything but wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, so I gave her a few minutes. Eventually, she cleared her throat and mumbled, “No, I am sorry. You must have been resting here and I...." She hiccuped. "..definitely ruined your time.” I looked at her in disbelief. She was worried about me being annoyed rather than being mad at me for being nosy? "I'm really sorry," her voice broke on the last word. "Why are you sorry?" The words escaped my lips abruptly. She blinked once, bemused. "For ruining your time." Shaking my head, I dismissed her apology. "You didn't, so stop saying sorry." She was so nice, that I was considering every one of my moments on earth, that it was even justified. "That's good then." A vague response, but given the circumstances, it sufficed. "Did something happen, though? Rant to me if you want. Actually you know, you should. You will find a boy like me once in a hundred years just like a comet, who will want to listen to someone's rant beside a lake like this. " I offered a half-smile and a thumbs-up. It had been 60 seconds, and she just stared at me. At this point, I can hear crows cawing in the background and the sound of water dripping awkwardly. I…didn't say anything wrong did I? “uhm, I meant that I am just really busy that's all…” To my astonishment, she burst out laughing. The sight of her laughing made me laugh too. “You're really…” She gasped between her violent laughs, “funny. Yeah, really funny. Please be my friend, a random boy who comes once in a hundred years.” It was the first of October when I met her.

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Michael Kelso

Author of Crime/Mystery novels, and short hor...

Schellsburg, United States