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The Birthday Dance - Friday, Dec. 20, 2019
Saturday, May. 11, 2019 @ 11:58 pm
We stand side by side on the crudely built wooden dock that wraps from the shore around the front of a granite outcropping. The rough planks are warm beneath my feet. The small, round lake is still and deeply green, hemmed in by thick fir forest.
I glance to his bare torso, his bare arms. Smooth and muscled and lightly tanned from field school. I glance down at my pale and bruised limbs. I reach over and run my hand over his shoulder, feeling the warmth of his skin. He turns to me.
He looks over at me. I smile.
And we jump.
Enveloped in shockingly cold water. I open my eyes and look up at the shafts of green sunlight. Kick my way to the surface. I burst forth, gasp, laugh, and tread water. I look over at Russell. He appears nonplussed.
“I did field work in Northern Saskatchewan. The lakes were our only option for bathing. And they were often rather cold.”
I dive down once more, twist under the water, and rise. We swim back towards the dock. Pull ourselves up, sit side by side on the warm wood. Water sheets from my body, and he leans over and kisses me. Lake water drips down our faces as his mouth presses against mine. Cold water, warm skin.
We had to scramble across an exposed rock face to get here. We hear others on the trail above, but we have this place to ourselves. Eden. The green lake and the warm sun drying our bodies. This is innocence. Perfection. I never want to leave; I want to never forget this moment.
He runs his hands over my skin. We lean our heads together. We talk quietly. Time passes slowly.
He puts his legs around me, and I turn and put mine over his thighs and around him. Facing each other. Water dripping from my bikini top. He traces a finger gently back and forth across my collarbone. I close my eyes and feel it all, savour it.
I lean my head onto his shoulder and stare down into the lake. There, a salamander, with tiny hands, pushes itself along the vertical wall of rock. The fetal creature, brown and soft-bodied.
“How did I find you?” he asks.