On Golden Pond
He could feel the water soak its way through the canvas of his flame-covered shoes. His socks were already wet and somewhat squishy. He liked it. He wanted it that way.
He squinted at the golden sand in the distance and thought he saw movement upon it. They look like ants, he thought. A sliver of sunlight lingered between the rising shore and the falling horizon, and he studied it until his mind took turns he wished it wouldn't. For instance: Soon they will embrace, he thought, and they will hold each long after we are gone and well into the night*. To think of such things made his stomach hurt and he shook his head until the image fell out. It hardly made a splash.
There were friends around him, each covered in the maximum layer of mud that they thought their parents would allow. Each had faced the distant horizon, and each had sized themselves up against it.
I stood in the shadows, and if he knew I was there he did not let on, rather he let his feet ease deeper into the sea and he threw his laughter out for all to hear.
I fought down the fears as they grew inside me. I wanted to make him stop, but I said nothing. Where did such fears come from? I didn't know them as a boy and I had no intention of him knowing them now. Let him be, I thought, and so I did.
He took a step back and leaned hard into whatever was left behind him. Then, suddenly, he shot toward the water and he jumped for many things, but most of all joy. The space beneath him grew great, and then it ended far too quickly.
Standing in the middle of the puddle he glanced in my direction and waved. I gave him a nod and all the smile I had left. He ran, laughing, with heavy steps through the light, cool water, and he braced himself again.
*No telling what he was actually thinking, so I'm going with this.