Staring At Ducks

We used to watch the ducks. Whenever you had nothing else to do, you’d call me and we’d go down to the water to watch the ducks. There were always people around, joggers, dog owners, but rarely lovers. You hated that, said they were so fake, bound to break up anyway. I didn’t know then what I know today. Though it’s true, we’re always smarter in hindsight. Another cliche, in a whole slew of cliches. And boy how you hated those, too. In actual fact, there were a lot of things you hated. Which isn’t surprising, the way that your life turned out. The ducks and the water were the only thing you loved. You’d take me down to the water, made me sit there with you, turning your back on all that, the joggers, the fake lovers whose trysts were never meant to last in the first place (a lot like your life), and the dog walkers. All you wanted to do was sit there and watch the ducks go about their merry way, swimming together as one, as you always said, “not a dysfunctional family between them.” 
So when they told us that you’d drowned in the water, drowned because, as they put it, you were trying to walk across the water on too thin ice, it really didn’t come as a surprise to anyone. It was the kind of place you’d choose to die. And we all knew you did it on purpose, the entire school, and the entire year, even though we were all only thirteen at the time. Even at that tender age, as all the grown ups around us put it, we knew that it meant something when you pointed out that there was not a dysfunctional family in sight when you looked at the water, or over the water. 
Yours was a hot mess. We found out at the funeral, when rather than moan, they would scream and shout, blame each other for not taking care of you, carry on, as though you were not lying there in front of them, ready to be placed in your grave. They didn’t even bother with an open casket, just wanted things to go as quickly as possible. Secretly I was sure that the casket they’d bought was the first one they’d found, but I didn’t want to say anything or ask. You’d never mentioned them before, other than never inviting any of us to your home, including myself, and I was your best friend, the one who would always jump when you called, drop everything and follow you outside. It’s why I come here now, to recapture every step, to see what I could have done. And I’m no closer to understanding now, sixty-six years after it happened, than I was when they asked me when I’d last seen you, and then, a few hours later, told me that you were dead. 
They built a bridge now, for the trains. Sometimes I wonder had they been there when you were still around, would they have given you hope that one day you might just get out and kept you alive. 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s