— Guest post by anonymous —
Last summer was a long summer, I spent most of my days in the basement on my computer because I had nothing to do the whole season, but I couldn’t stand it anymore THE MONOTONY WAS DRIVING ME CRAZY the only place I knew of was a lake in the middle of a forest near my house, and I wanted nothing more than to swim in this beautiful lake, with the perfect temperature to counter the warm summer air, with water so clear you could see every pebble at the bottom, standing so still that I felt like I was staring into a giant mirror…yet, I was scared, because I’d never really gone swimming before in my life, as I’d only been to pools where the water never rose above my shoulders, surrounded by lifeguards who would leap to my assistance in a heartbeat, but this place was different because since the water was deeper and the lake was isolated so that no one could save me if anything went wrong.
I know it’s pathetic that I feared a lake, but I FEARED A LAKE, and the mind is impossibly good at imagining the worst fate possible, and I still remember the day I discovered the lake – not the first time I saw it – the first time I really understood how beautiful it was, which was last winter when the lake had frozen over, and I’d seen it a million times before, but this time something just clicked, and to me it was suddenly perfect.
Not only am I irrational about fears, but I’m also irrational about hopes, and in my head it seemed like my life would never again feel so boring and non-fulfilling, because I could swim in that lake for the rest of the summer, without a care in the world; I knew I could finally be happy.
But suddenly the end of summer was looming and I was still struggling to find the confidence to swim in my lake, so I spent days and days and days and days in my basement, on my computer, passing the time with movies and TV shows and music and stationary activities with nothing changing, everything the same as always, until one day, my mom and dad told me that we were being transferred to another part of the state, far away from this place I knew and the lake I loved, and I knew what I had to do before I left.
In an act of desperation, I jumped on my bike and headed straight for the lake, pedaling as hard as I could, my heart beating uncontrollably in my chest, throwing my vehicle aside as I approached the edge of my sanctuary, and running without thinking and then jumping without thinking, THUD.
Sharp pain on the side of my head.
I realized the lake was frozen.
I sat up and felt my head bleeding…the cold meant that it was winter, its persistence meant that summer had been over for months, but I didn’t notice because I’d been busy being afraid to do the things I truly wanted, and that night I returned, cold, hurt, and alone, and when my family finally moved far away from my lake, I realized something that probably came to me when I was sitting on that ice, that the lake wasn’t nearly as deep or scary as I thought it was, and that if I ever found another sanctuary, I would dive in head first.