In my town, there is a lake.
It’s a very pretty lake, though not awfully large. The surface is always smooth and calm, reflecting things perfectly. It’s almost like a mirror at times, and because of that, you really couldn’t see deep into the lake. But every so often you’d catch a glimpse of a sleek red or yellow body gliding right under the surface.
Our town boasted about the lake. It was our pride and joy. That didn’t mean to say we cared particularly well for it, but still. The lake and it’s perfect, mirror like reflections was what set our town apart from all the other rural towns dotted across the countryside.
I suppose that since most of our town only cared that the lake stayed calm and smooth and mirror-like, no one really actually … well, cared for the lake. No one cared that slowly the lake shrunk and the plants started crowding around the edges and there were no more glimpses of red-gold bodies beneath the surface. The lake surface remained the same and no one noticed anything.
Except for one girl.
There wasn’t really anything special about her. She was the girl that looked pretty in a “girl next door” sort of way. She had brown hair and brown eyes and the kind of face that blended into the next the second you turned away. Again, there really wasn’t anything special about her. Except for one thing.
Every day, you would find her by the lake. It didn’t matter if it was sunny or cloudy or raining and it didn’t matter if it was summer or spring or winter or fall. She was always there. Standing or sitting, she was just always there by the lake, watching. And every day, she looked a little sadder.
I don’t know what compelled me to talk to her. Maybe it was the intensity with which she stared at the lake. Maybe it was how sad she had looked that day. Maybe it was just simple curiosity. I never even talked to her before, just knew that she was always there by the lake whenever I walked by after running the daily errands for my mother.
Still, that day, that one fateful day, I stopped and turned and walked up to her.
“What are you always doing here?” I remember asking. It’s not the smoothest of introductions or greetings, so you’ll have to forgive me for being so blunt, but I’ve always been one to cut to the chase.
“Have you noticed we’re killing the lake?”
I was taken aback, confused. What did that have anything to do with what she was doing here?
“Have you noticed we’re killing the lake? If you look carefully, the lake’s a lot darker below now and the fishes and turtles are gone.”
True to what she said, when I looked closer, I saw that the water below did seem a little murkier and the shimmering, bright fish were nowhere to be seen.
“It doesn’t look like we are. If you don’t pay attention, the lake looks just fine, especially since it reflects so much. But if you look closely, it’s slowly dying inside.”
I couldn’t help but get the feeling that she was talking about more than just the lake, but really, I didn’t know what to say. We stood there, together, for several minutes more before I hurried off quickly, forgetting all about my question.
Ever since, I’ve remembered what she said. Every day, I pass the lake and stop to take a look beneath the water before moving on my way. Every day, she was there, silent and watching. Except today.
Today, she disappeared.
Link to image here.