Flash Fiction: By the Lake

I am standing by the lake. The sun is sinking down behind the aged buildings to the West, and the air is starting to chill. My skin prickles in protest but I won’t move. Not until you’re here. I have to shield my eyes as the sun sinks, the lake sucking in the orange light and then reflecting it as its own. If I touch it, will I burn myself? Or will I freeze?

I will wait here for you until it’s too late. I’m stubborn that way, though I’m sure you realize that by now. I have a hard time letting go. So I will stand here, rubbing my arms up and down to keep myself warm, a companionless embrace. It isn’t supposed to be this way. When you get here, my skin will pull me toward you, it will beg me to get close enough to be warm, to be truly warm.

But if I do that, then everything changes. Some day you will realize what you’ve done, that you’ve let me worm my way into your life even though we are so different, even though I have sinned beyond any acceptable place compared with you, even though my beliefs are not the same. You will keep me warm and I will try to do the same for you, but some day that warmth will fade and we will both be left cold. I am afraid, so afraid that I will leave you cold.

So I’m waiting for you, even though I know I shouldn’t. Because I am stubborn. Because I want what I can’t have. Even though I am afraid, the id tells me to stay here anyway.

Moments later, I feel your hand on my shoulder and my skin is suddenly no longer on fire in the frigid air. My hands fall to my sides, as though I’m ashamed to be seen wrapped around myself, an impenetrable fortress. The sun disappears and we are left in darkness.

But you stay. And I stay. We huddle close but let our consciences do the talking and so that is where we stand, for a very long time, both too stubborn to leave. Both too hard headed to remain.

For now, though, I am warm.

2 Responses to “Flash Fiction: By the Lake”
  1. Dave says:

    Really enjoyed reading this short piece, Hannah …

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