You held my hand. You didn’t have to. I’d been swimming for two decades, gone to this lake during summers growing up. There was no reason to be scared. But I was.
Scared and excited. And with you.
I shook and smiled. It was too dark to see the bottom. Your hand was warm. Warmer than I thought it would be.
We jumped. Feet pushing off the dock, metal leaving indentations in our skin.
The water was warm. Warmer than I thought it would be.
And, unfortunately for you, shallower than you thought it would be. How is your ankle? Still sore?
We got acclimated to the water, the waves, the seaweed, the sand. Swimming. It had been one year for me. Two for you.
I dove under, came up for air. You swam out further, bobbed and buoyed. Floating apart and coming back together, over and over. Talking, playing, loving.
You held me, supported my back as I floated, your arms still in the moving water, palms flat on my back. I was nervous, unskilled. I’d never mastered this part in swim lessons. I didn’t want to sink. You steadied me, spun me. Slowly. We kissed. You didn’t let go until I was ready, certain.
I was free. For the first time in weeks. Happy to hear the sound of my own breath beneath the water. In, out. In, out.
I don’t know what it’s like to love someone with depression, I’m sorry you’ve had to learn.
The clouds came, your eyes turning grey with the sky. But it never opened up, never rained. You explained why. Why that lake saved us from so many storms. You were detailed, descriptive. Talking with your hands, you lifted your arms, opening up. My heart followed suit. Swallows swooped overhead, catching a late dinner.
I knew then what you had asked my dad. I knew what you were going to ask me. I knew what I was going to say.
Now, everyone else knows too.
Just like that day on the dock, you held my hand. Just like our time in the water, you steadied me. Just like the lake itself, you protected me from storms.
We shook and smiled.
The ring was warm. Warmer than I thought it would be.
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