I’m not sure how many degrees below zero it was, but I’m sure it was freezing. I felt the cold despite wearing thick pants, two shirts, and a jacket. I boarded the van bound for Lake Baikal. I just mouthed the word Listvyanka” at the first driver I met and he knew where I wanted to go.
“James! Wake up!” Ligaya said. “This is our stop. The beach is just a few minutes’ walk from here.”
I wiped the sleep off my face and stepped out of the bus and into the hot and humid air. I held your hand as we walked on the sand. Our bare feet sunk into the fine, white sand and the gentle lapping of the waves brushed our ankles.
I can still remember the heat and the summer’s warmth its small hands and gentle touch.
Someone opened the door and let the cool air in. I felt its icy touch graze my cheeks. I was awakened from my reverie of warmer days and blue skies. We arrived at our destination and the driver looked at me and gestured towards the lake.
I aimlessly walked along the paved path and saw Lake Baikal. Its vastness was beyond me. I tried to get as near to the lake as possible without wetting my shoes.
Part of the shore and lake were already frozen; its glass-like surface inched towards an unknowable center, much further away. I tried to imagine how deep the ice was, but I couldn’t go that far. My eyes fell on the seiches forming on the edge of the glaze.
“How long will it take before the lake freezes completely?” I asked aloud despite knowing no one would understand me.