[40] Submerged, Ian C. Smith

Clinging to hope in the future’s gathering wind, a pang of memory sidling his way from the slippery past’s receding blur, he sits to rest his back overlooking his town’s lake.  He bought a caravan with an annex, and after weekend trial runs, canvas cots, folding chairs, camping on green fringes of grey suburbs that have long since become ever expanding grids, more grey streets of today’s hopeful families, they booked a summer holiday at Emerald Lake.

There’s not time enough left for this malarkey, he thinks, wind swirling leaves along the lake’s path he walks alone.  I’m not that bad.  She’s like an arch-prosecutor building a case.  Re-jigging history makes things worse.  Why can’t she relent, put her imaginative recall to better use, give due credit?

About those days he remembers working, always, even on that first holiday when he rose early, the lake’s silence ethereal.  He drove, elbow out the window, into burgeoning light to the mill, roads quiet, singing along to Leo Kottke’s, “Corrina, Corrina,” returning in late afternoons under a dwarfing sky to a hubbub of splashes, shrieks, sunburn.  The crowded lakeside laughter, summertime fun, seemed sublime, he realizes, heartsick for the hot smell of his ticking bronze Ford Falcon when he had parked in the shade.

She should stop her vexatious scheming, he mutters while a white plane with red wingtips pierces a cloud above women pushing strollers, cyclists, and walkers armed with gadgetry measuring leisure.  Some of my alleged wrongs were not committed.  Why am I the blameworthy scourge?

Their children who slept, spent, in that annex, moved on, all divorced, his mind a slough of sorrow, he longs for life so far to have been a trial run leading to sunny happiness lying in wait any day now after the hell that was his youth.  A feeling like grief stealing over him, he hopes she might stop mistaking him for a much younger man, a shallow dreamer with wishes in his blood whose yearning swept him away.

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