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We Walked into the Lake
by Alex Smith


When Feather and Nikki got to the lake, they knew it would be cold. “It’s gonna be cold, guys,” They said in unison, dangling their bare feet in the shallow waters.

They knew it would be cold because the night was cold. The lake was cold. All this chilliness and not enough long underwear. This was why we walked into the lake.

We walked into the lake. It was chilly in the lake. There were shards of ice in the lake, in the sky. There, in the lake, we were cold. I squeezed my hands. My teeth chattered. Our bodies went the color of the water. The lake began to eat us.

This all made sense because Nikki was the first in. Her bathing suit was like ice, and her nipples were hard. She was skinny and small like a TV-star. Her face was frozen. Her skin was perfect, there was a birthmark on her back shaped like Italy. I was in love with her.

The lake was good to us all in the summer. It was surrounded by the forest, which surrounded our house, which was on the outskirts of campus. When the snow came, we needed the lake. The snow was cold and the winter was lowering our morale, we needed the lake.

The walk to the lake almost killed two of us. We were all in our bathing suits, and some totally naked. We passed great looming oaks, icicles hanging from their empty branches. The birds had all flown south, we were alone with the snow and the ground and the ice.

Feather and Takashi stopped. They began to shake. They told us that they were too cold.

“Well then go back,” I had said, looking at Nikki.

She glanced at me. “George is right. If you’re too cold then turn back. I’m walking to that fucking lake if it kills me.” She was in love with me. Her face was frozen. Her face was frozen through and through. I had fallen in love with that bored stare she always wore.

Feather and Takashi, both in red speedos, frowned. They knew they had been beaten, so they shook their heads in disagreement, and kept walking. We knew the journey itself wouldn’t kill us. The forest would protect us.

The lake was good and welcoming. The lake was good and fat and wet. The water would be thick like Nyquil and the floating ice would gather around our waists as we waded in. Some didn’t understand this. They walked nonetheless.

Nikki’s hair was wet before we were even in the lake. It shined black against the snow. I could see my breath. This was a movie. “I think you should cover up,” I told her, rubbing her arms as we walked.

“Don’t touch me.” She said, she told me I would damage her skin, “I’ve already got hypothermia.”

“Oh,” I said. And perhaps, if I knew what hypothermia was, I would have felt it too. My stomach turned and my nose was floating on my face. We were all so cold. And I was in this movie. Nikki and I were lovers in this movie.

We all stopped for a cigarette. Their red eyes reflected off the trees as we leaned. I could feel sores on my shoulders and feet. The ground was covered in snow.

I rubbed my thighs; my bathing suit clung tightly to my knees. This all made perfect sense. I twisted my upper body to look at Nikki. Her skin was glowing. Her lower lip was bleeding a little. It had dried and cracked in the middle. “I wish I had some Chap Stick, Nikki.”

“So do I,” she said, rolling her eyes. Her cigarette was stained with blood.

“We should ask the cigarette man to give you another.” I said, shaking a hand at her cigarette.

“No.” She said.

Nikki was pretty, beautiful.

The lake was close. We would be there in minutes. We would plunge into the lake. The lake would be welcoming; it would let us play and frolic like it had in the summer. I would kiss Nikki.

We would hold each other, or maybe not hold each other- her hypothermia. But we would kiss. I would taste the blood from her lip, and she would be slightly embarrassed. But this would be love. A movie. Even better than a movie. Love.

Yes, love. And me. And Nikki.

The water was cold. But we walked into the lake. The boys were shriveled and the girls were shriveled. But we walked into that lake, the twenty of us. We needed this feeling.

We walked into the lake. We were submerged to our chests. Some stopped early on. Takashi stopped way back, “I can’t feel my legs anymore, man,” he cried. Some cried. I cried a little. The moon lit our faces, the crags of ice near the center were dark. We kept moving. I kept following.

Nikki, her shoulders underwater, kept walking down and down. I followed her, the back of her head inciting rebellions of drunken happiness in me, the floating ice blocking my nostrils.

We walked into the lake. Our responsibilities were cleansed. We existed, bodies upon bodies, earth upon earth, our forms displacing the ice, the frozen fish. We existed as the lake existed, we were one with the lake.

In soft-focus, our minds were like reels of film, constantly recording our own movies. The lake would be our projectionist. The back of Nikki’s head. These abstractions would be unified: Nikki and I, our rabid libidos, rushing over stones like rivers, like water. Our sensuous potential would be immortalized by the lake. We were like petrified wood; on and on, infinitely washed of our desires on the shore of a beach with no borders.





About the Author


Alex Smith lives in Brooklyn. Email can be sent to jimtreehorn@hotmail.com