It’s warmer in the water
We’re graduating and the future is 34 pushpins pressed into a map of the United States.
“Probability says California,” My roommate, Brooke, told me as she cupped her forearms around a cluster of pins.
I nodded, trying to imagine her in California, me in New York City, our other roommate in Washington, D.C. It was too much to think about, all of us spread thin across a country where the only comfort we had was loneliness. We’d take comfort in knowing that, ironically, we couldn’t possibly be sure anything monumental would happen in the next five years.
It’s funny how one home transitions into another. Looking back, it’s seamless. But when you’re at the edge of each cliff and you’re ready to jump, it’s like the first time you realize the world is in constant motion. For three years and eight months, it’s pushed to the back of your mind.
Then you feel it rising up from the pit of your stomach like a sudden sickness that washes over you, forcing you to stop and sit down. To regain a sense of balance and stability. To find yourself on that map of pushpins.
Where will I be in the future?
“You’ll live on the lake,” I told Brooke. “I can picture it.”
Forestation rises up on three sides; a vast expanse of murky water closes off the loop. Children laugh in the background as she stretches out on the shoreline, digging the tips of her toes into the grass and dirt. She stops reading her book to crane her neck, motioning for her daughter to come to where she’s sitting.
“Do you want to go for a swim?” she asks the child.
The girl, whose hair is as white-blonde as Brooke’s, nods vehemently and starts tugging her t-shirt over her head.
She reaches the edge of the water, lifts up one foot, and frowns.
“What’s wrong?” Brooke asks.
The girl shakes her head and starts back toward the spot on the grass where her mother is stretched out.
“It’s too cold,” she whines.
Brooke sets her book down. “How do you know?”
She shrugs her shoulders.
The two of them walk to the edge. Holding hands, they take deep breaths and wade gently into the murky water. A fish swims by on one side and the little girl squeals, latching onto Brooke’s leg.
After a few seconds, she releases her grip to wade out further and, without warning, dives under the surface. When she emerges, she brushes her hair back and giggles.
“Brr,” she says, and she rubs both hands over the goose bumps on her arms. “It’s warmer in the water.” The initial shock of icy water that had chilled her bones grows into a comfort.
She runs farther out, squats until the water rises up to her neck, and motions for her mother to follow her.heatheroftheeo | October 20th, 2011 | Category: Featured 2, HeatherEO, Memoir, Tuesday 2 | 10 comments