By the Lake

by Scott Hotaling


It stuck with me like a parasite eating away at the daylight.
Her shadow swam naked across the lake each morning
when I arrived. At first, I tried to ignore it. Speaking with
ghosts was never my thing. After a couple days and
several nightmares, I started listening. I suspected she
was trying to say she forgave me, but being dead really
limited her vocabulary. I could still smell her hair, or
maybe it was just the stink of burying myself in regret.
Either way, she was gone and I couldn't stop trying to join
her. If I close my eyes and dive in, maybe she'll kiss me
again. I'll carry her to the shore and breathe life back into
her heart. We'll have a dog and two cats and she'll teach
our kids how to swim. She would have liked that. I never
learned how to swim. I think it's a little late for that now.