The lake looked smoky, glazed and unscathed like fog clinging to a bathroom mirror. She looked across, sitting on her hands, pushing her legs straight out then pulling them in again, her eyes bees frantically moving from place to place, fluttering between flowers. A group of rambunctious children interrupted her gaze and stumbled in front of her, giggling and shouting words she couldn’t quite decipher, and she smiled to herself, plucking a piece of grass from the ground at her feet and twirling it between her fingers. Her mind drifted to her wedding dress, hanging dull and disenchanted in her closet, dust already eating away at the hem like the scum consuming the edges of the water. She looked up from her hands in search of something in the park to remind her why she loved its existence more than her reality, eyes landing on a shaking cane, then on the man who grasped it with all his might, alone. She glanced down as if having witnessed a disease in motion, an inevitable disaster that would one day enter even her bones in their desolate state. Her eyes swept the fields surrounding the lake once more as if in search of a memory she couldn’t quite place, a memory that justified her ruined dresses and worthless heels, the phone calls she never made and the letters she never took the time to write. But all she found were other people’s memoirs in motion, creating themselves beautifully through Frisbee tosses and picnics she no longer had. She walked from her spot on the grass to the lake’s surface, brushing it with her toes and sending ripples across the glass. Nothing ever stayed still, and as the children ran out of her line of vision, leaving her alone like the man, she knew nothing ever stayed.
Originally written at Columbia University’s summer writing program 2013.