Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tenth lap

Write a scene that involves a shallow lake and a margarita.

Maria swam a few more laps in the shallow lake, counting the strokes to know when to turn back; twenty five strokes up, twenty five strokes back. Was this the seventh or the eighth lap? She couldn’t remember, decided it was the eighth and prepared herself to do two more. It was early in the season, so ten laps was about all she could manage; as the season progressed she would either increase to twenty laps, or change the stroke count to fifty up, fifty back. That was the nice thing about swimming in the lake, you just swim parallel to the shore and you could swim as many strokes as you like. When she was younger she liked to swim out into the middle of the lake, but as she got older she had learned that it was better to be closer to the shore in case a cramp came on or a boat came unexpectedly around the corner and into her cove.

She swam out twenty five strokes, then turned around to swim back, slowing down to a breast stroke and surveying the surroundings. The sun was starting to go down and the cove was starting to darken from the lengthening shadows of the trees and hills surrounding the cove. Overhead, the buzzards were circling lazily, looking for scavenge, or perhaps waiting for Maria to drown. A blue heron had flown in to the cove sometime around her fourth lap, and Maria was captivated by its grace and beauty. She knew the large bird would fly away as soon as she came out of the water, but for now it was lovely to look at and Maria felt that it’s presence added a sense of serenity to her late afternoon swim.

At twenty five strokes she turned, this time swimming a side stroke, facing in towards the shore, when suddenly the heron startled and opened its large wings and flapped up and away. Maria lost count of her strokes as she turned back to see what had startled the bird, and just then she saw Frank coming down the trail towards her, carrying a small ice chest in one hand and a bag chair slung over his shoulder.

By the time she swam over to the edge and climbed out of the water, Frank had set up his chair next to hers and was pulling two plastic bottles from the ice chest. “I know you don’t like to drink beer right after your swim,” he said to her, shivering as she pressed her wet body against his back and neck, “so I brought you a Margarita instead!”

“Kind of defeats the purpose of the exercise,” Maria mentioned, though the grin on her face belied the gruffness of her tone. She took the bottle he proffered to her, twisting the top off and clicked her bottle against his. “But it was very clever of you to put it into water bottles.”