The sun is high in the sky when I awake. A summer sun that leaves you aching for days on the lake, houseboating, cabins, and beaches. I arise with tanned skin from my days vacationing here. Sylvan Lake is a wonderful little place in Alberta. It’s a place that crawls with locals and tourists when the sun first hits it and warms the temperature to a toasty twenty-six degrees celsius in June. The hotter it becomes the more people who roam here. They sit on the grass by the lake, young people in bikini’s and boarder shorts. Also, families with little kids running around and eating the famous ice cream. It melts down their bare torsos in rivulets of color, whatever crazy flavour the kid chose– tiger or bubblegum maybe.
I am neither those young people anymore, nor am I a family. I am somewhere in-between. Young but not college age anymore. I came with a couple of friends and we haven’t been here in years, since those days of campus shenanigans. We are lying on towels on the grass and the sun beats down on us, thirty-five degrees celsius. It’s a hot one today. My pale skin is red from the rays that beat down on me. I never notice sunburn until it is too late. But at least I noticed soon enough that I won’t have blisters or second degree burns such as I had as an eight-year–old in the Okanogan.
I put on my shirt so my shoulders won’t burn anymore and walk out into the lake water which is lukewarm. I walk until my hair goes under. Then I float gently in the water as the sun hits the afternoon crowd with its rays. Kids are floating on little rafts and blow up crocodiles. I hate the lake but it is a balm to my sun burn. I hate the things that live beneath its watery veil. The fish and God knows what else.
I’m out pretty far out in the lake when something pulls on my leg. I swim towards shore but the thing keeps pulling at me. I am closer to shore and swimming faster than I’ve ever swum. My skins aches from the burn of the sun underneath my t-shirt. Then I’m pulled under the water, again, and again. I’m yelling and screaming, but my friends just wave. They cannot hear me. And then I’m pulled down to the depths of the lake. I’ll never see the sun again, the water was my fate.
Thanks to I Smith Words for the prompt sun.