As published in Where the Winds Blow
Concentric circles expanded outwards, sending whirligigs and water beetles bouncing on tiny
waves. Liv drew her finger from the water and wiped her hand on her shorts. Between cracks in
wooden planks, water undulated, a chaotic rhythm of light and shadow from below.
“Let’s play that clapping game we learned at school last year.”
Liv looked up from the mesmerizing currents and smiled. It was as though she were looking
into a mirror, only Angelica’s hair was pulled back into a ponytail and her shirt was white rather
“You mean Miss Suzie?”
Angelica’s eyes sparkled and she nodded her head.
Sitting cross-legged on the worn dock, the girls raised their hands in unison and began singing and clapping in rhythm. Their song carried over water striders balancing on the water, past damselflies dancing precariously close to the surface, and into the air where terns shrieked before dive-bombing into the lake in search of a meal.
The cattails along the beach had filled out since last summer and a family of marsh wrens had
moved in. With the wall of green and busy birdlife, it was as though a life force had settled into
the lake and extended its spirit to the shores.
A wren called, its sewing-machine trill blending with the silly rhyme of the girls. It ended its
song just as Liv giggled out the last word.
“What should we do now?”
Liv spun on her bottom and turned onto her belly in one fluid motion, and Angelica followed
like a shadow. As they lay side by side staring into the water, the fringe of Angelica’s shirt
ruffled in the breeze, brushing Liv’s arm like a gentle kiss as though it were barely there.
Stones—some the size of basketballs, others like golf balls—decorated the lakebed in shades of
beige and gray, all smoothed by the sands of time. The shape of the stones changed with each
roll of water, and tiny waves lapped the shoreline before moving out to open water, taking
anything it could with it.
As the water continued its gentle swell and collapse, the scent of lake weeds and fish floated into
the air. Liv shifted her gaze from the rocky bottom to the reflection of Angelica and smiled. Angelica smiled back and the girls’ eyes locked in nature’s mirror.
Drawn by an unknown force, Liv reached for Angelica’s reflection. “Hi, Angelica,” she said
as she searched the changing face. Her fingertips touched the water and broke the glassy surface.
Angelica’s image vanished as though it had never been there.
“Angelica?” Liv’s heart jumped to her throat. She pushed herself from her belly and spun
around. Angelica stood at the end of the dock, her back to Liv.
“Don’t do that,” Liv said. “You scared me.”
She joined Angelica and curled her toes over the edge of the dock. Minute water creatures and
shape-shifting rocks blurred as the girls gazed across the lake to the island, just large enough for
a picnic table and a few scattered trees.
“We still need to go there for a picnic one day,” Liv said.
“You think we can?”
“We can take the canoe.”
“Do you think I’ll be able to join you over there? I haven’t tried going that far.”
“I know you can do it.”
The sun had almost completed its arc across the dome-like sky and was starting its final
descent. Purple and pink hues melded with yellow as the giant orange orb threw colors into the
With the sun drowning in a sea of color, Liv reached for Angelica. Her fingers brushed her
sister’s. Trying to hold on to the magic of the moment but not willing to disrupt the mystery of
the lake, Liv slowly wrapped her hand around Angelica’s. They interlaced fingers and Liv
squeezed her hand tighter, refusing to let go.
As the final sliver of sun dipped below the horizon, winking out in an instant, Liv’s hand
closed into a fist. She turned to Angelica but only a breeze played beside her.
The wren sang.