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The Pond

You led me by the hand to your favorite place near the pond. You fed the ducks there and their attentions deserved a whole loaf of wheat bread, you thought. We sat by the bank with our coats pulled up against the light wind. Your breath haloed your head in mist and I could see your face clearly in the bright moonlight. Other than that, it was a simple place with a path bisecting it and a single bench marring the wilderness. A fog began to form while we were there and the air became humid; it seeped through my layers and touched my skin. I could tell you were cold from your lips; they quivered slightly. I think maybe it was me that made you shake. The fog came off the water and obscured the view; it was thick enough to obscure the lights of a house I knew was across the lake. The soft padding of feet passed behind us, but only I noticed the jogger. You shrugged and stared out, your eyes seemingly not focused on anything, but rather left on idle to free you for though.

Your hair obscured the line of your face and only your long white nose could be seen. I turned away from you and looked along the bank for nesting duck but couldn't make them out. I wonder how ducks sleep because they always seem to be softly honking whenever I pass the lake, no matter at what hour in the night. I came here alone, before I came with you, and walked through the slick mud, huddled in a waterprook coat. I would sit not far from where we sat and skip flat stones at any birds out fishing on the water. In winter, the lake was covered by a thin sheet of ice and stones resonate like plucked strings when tossed across its surface.

Your hand touched mine through my glove and I turned to see your face very near mine. I had never been so close to you and never wanted to be. You and Jack locked me out a dozen times when we shared a room in town. The small room had a bolt on the door I didn't have a key for. I pounded on the door when the bars closed beccause I knew that you were ignoring me. I was expected to sleep at some friend's pad.

"Sometime when I come here," you said, "I think I can control the ducks' minds. They move back and forth along the patches of algae, and I can make them approach just by thinking about it. If I want them to leave, they just waddle into the water, in unison it seems, and paddle out to the center."

You moved closer, but I didn't budge. "I need to talk to you about Jack," you had said before we set off to the lake, but by then it was too late. I had dressed for the walk and you led me out to your spot.

Three weeks before you took me to that bench, I was sitting and watching you and Jack groping each other on the bench. I followed you from the bar and sat far enough so I couldn't hear your voices. My trousers were wet from the grass and I shivered uncontrolably, in the shadow, watching you form into a black blob.

You didn't notice that I had a cold but I wanted you to.

©1993 Chris Abraham