Abbaye (via Vince Arno)
I took a different path when I walked this morning because Alan cemented my suspicions at breakfast. Something about the way he held his coffee cup closer to his body between sips, shielded behind the morning edition.
What time should I plan dinner?
He made that little humming sound that’s like its own question. The one he makes when he doesn’t want to answer me. He’s been making that sound every day for weeks.
Mmmm? Let’s touch bases later?
His kiss landed at a point four inches to the left of my ear and above my shoulder. I stood in the vestibule, next to my running shoes, and watched his car disappear around the bend, the thin growl fading into the waiting dawn.
I found the skiff dragged up on the shore and tucked under a line of bushes to the right of the path that ended abruptly in a vast expanse of glassy water. I stared across the lake I’d driven past for years without ever having stopped to look, my new-found vantage point opening on a world I never knew existed.
The lake slapped a gentle, relentless rhythm against the weathered stern of the relic. I really didn’t think about it, just bent over and pushed against the leaf-covered prow with all my might, then jumped into the belly of the strange, tiny beast as it floated towards the center of the endless mirror. I looked back and saw the oars cradled in the rotting leaves on the shore, moving away from me faster than I expected.
The sun had barely popped the horizon and the entire lake was draped with a thick fog. I drifted, just breathing and feeling the almost imperceptible rhythm of the lake and the boat dancing together. The fog lifted her skirts in a slow burlesque as the sun rose and the birds joined voices across the water, crying out their greeting to the day in that building chorus I’ve always wished I could join.
For a while, I watched the windows thinking maybe the lady of the manor would pick up her steaming cup of black coffee and carry it with her to push aside a heavy drape. I waited for her pale face to appear and gaze out across the water.
Soon enough she’d notice me floating in lazy circles, driven by an unseen current, fed by eternal springs pushing up from the bottom of the lake.