Expressions

Across the Water: a short story

BY JAMIE HAN
Staff Writer

Tonight, the moon lies drowned at the bottom of a swimming pool, singing soft requiem for love. The sad boy sits alone at the edge, feet dangling over the water. Nervous hands grip an amber glass, nearly empty. It’s nothing more than a relic from another time. There is no more dancing, no more music.
Only quiet now.
The stars are at his back. They whisper his name, threaten to kill him with the secrets they keep.
There are so many memories they have witnessed.

 

                                        “Why do we do to this to ourselves?” His eyes were red, his lips wet and trembling                                           at the words. Vulnerable, miserable. They were both seventeen at the time.
                                        Innocent, but not enough. Never enough.

 

                                     “For love.” The boy said simply. He always spoke like he had all the answers.

 

                                       “But what is love to us?” It was a desperate, hopeless question. They both knew it                                            but neither of them believed it.

 

                                       “What else is there? What more is there for us hold onto?”
                                     What are you so afraid of?

 

                                       He didn’t answer. He didn’t have one.
                                       Instead he grasped for the boy’s hands as though it might keep him tethered here.                                          As though it might prevent the love from slipping through his fingers like water.                                              Maybe if they stayed like this, time would have been so kind as to stop for them.                                              Maybe then he could have indulged in this damned tragedy for just one second                                                more.

 

The sad boy downs the rest of his drink, knuckles white.
There’s a ghost on his mind and an answer on his lips that is four years too late.
He jumps into the pool with reckless abandon. It feels like falling into a memory: the icy water seeping into his marrow, the taste of chlorine on his tongue. Like this he can pretend no time has passed.
Like this he can pretend that he was the one who saved him.

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