Rank water took an overdue recess, leaving Boyd to finally breathe something not so caustic. The lake could be such a good friend when it wanted.
He had no evening plans - Moira was busy with her cats again - so he let his eyes drift from the water's skin to the cracked bench beneath his lap. Spellbinding and pacifying it was, the wood plus water. Friendly. Or maybe it was just that time.the time when work and obligations are forced out of mind in order to preserve sanity. It didn't matter; it wasn't to be thought about. Not this night. Instead, as the wind, wood and water united, Boyd let go, and he unintentionally turned over everyone in his life, one by one: the way they sat, the teeth-consciousness of their smiles, the intonations in their telephone talk, their smells.
The lake smelled of nothing, beautifully.
As blood coursed from his cheekbones to his crown, the back of Boyd's neck relaxed and his chin fell to his chest. The thoughts of his friends and family swam through his head. They blurred the distinctions between his encephalon lobes, and, at last, serenity flooded his temples, forming two gulfs of warmth, then one. He was now fully able to disengage.the months of labor, the reserved cogitation: all gone. Only outside nature was left. Soon came inner clarity - unsought answers to unwitting questions about all those beloved people in his life:
... I see, yes ... It's a lack of yin acceptance that causes Uncle Stu's shaking, necessitates medication ...it's so easy to see now.and . what's this? . My brother's impossible ego (God!), the one that pushes the fence of the universe, is more responsible than heredity or even diet for his diabetes . duh, Boyd . Brian, duh ... find some humility, Brother . something bigger than . And, yes . oh crap, of course; too much attempted reading made her top heavy, my old dyslexic high school girlfriend . what was her name again? ... I should have seen that before . Oh, right . Gina .
Imbalances everywhere, the holding on, the retaining of detritus - so easy to see in you, Boyd knew, so easy. It must've been the water.
... Well, here we have it . Moira's anxiety is the cause, not the result, of her irregular heart beat - the cats the cause of the anxiety . why so many? . how do I tell her? ... "Moira, my pet-" . No, I'll write an email . maybe . wait . Mom . Mom . Look, it is your excessive focus on time, that creation of the mind, that brought about your dementia, Mom, see . I told you before . And what about it, Javier? . what about your . I'll tell you . your love problems, your emotional flux, resulted from the boating accident four years ago, that broken ankle that never fully healed ... remember . It created instability ... doesn't go away . Try some more rehab .
True, Boyd was gifted this night with answer after spiritual answer. He began to see it, to become conscious of it, the prescience bubbling in tiny crescendos. Why hadn't they seen it in themselves too? Maybe if they were at the lake this night, perhaps. They could bask in the purity of the evening, like Boyd. It must've been his gift, yes.his ability to see you. It was his power.
Eventually, he raised his head and opened his eyes to the dusk. His friend was still with him, waveless, dulcet, without agenda - a proper ally. "Thank you," he said aloud. He was proud and would tell them all what he saw. He would help them. He would be a vessel through which health and curative information would pass. They would thank him, and he would feel worthy for once. "Thank you."
As the lake faded into the darkening horizon, it continued its fidelity to Boyd. It kept him in good company, company he had needed so desperately hours ago. The scent in the air, if there was one, was of freshness, not of stale fish, people and expectations. It was good water, he thought, good, good water. Good water that softly aided him, as a friend might, in eventually realizing that his fault lay, mainly, in his appraisal of the others - unconscious as it was - which was caused in part by his obsession with the coastal aroma, which was the result of his fixation on appearing pure, which stemmed from his need to be better than everyone else. The water chose to leave the source of the last one for Boyd to consider later.
(C)opyright 2006 Adam Carter
Adam Carter lives outside Chicago where he writes book reviews for thelocaltourist.com. His fiction has been published by Zygote In My Coffee.Send us your comments on this article