'Under the L-Dock' by Marie Gethins
Mud squished between toes – sticky and cold – until we hit a dip in the lake floor. Unexpected warmth gushed around our ankles before the cool water swept away residual heat. Our movement disturbed fish basking in the tepid puddle. Tails and gills brushed against calves. We screamed.
Parents prostrate in lawn chairs heard and leaned forward, searched for our group of sun-bleached heads. We stayed out of their view, but spied their tempered concern. With cautious steps we moved through shade slivers and light beams that trickled down between overhead planks. Screams transformed to giggles and the parents sank back. Books reopened. Hat brims lowered.
Metallic blue dragonflies found us. They darted and hovered on silent wings. Magic sticks too swift to capture. Soon crickets would saw their monotonous chorus. Parents would call us to beach towels, shovel us into cars with searing vinyl seats and furnace air. Sardined into the back seat we would smell of earth, fish, plants. Nature’s residue soon removed by perfumed bath foam and shower gel.
As the others moved towards the shore, I treaded water, hoping to delay this inevitable end. When a familiar voice called, I pinched my nose and joined the fish. Lake water stung open eyes. Liquid silence flowed into my ears. I searched for a glint of silver bodies, but saw only turbulence.