Walking on Water

I sit at the icy waters’ edge, toes, feet, legs, slow descend into the murky cold blackness.
Suddenly shivering, receptors on high alert, white caps move towards me to envelop my initial
endeavour, almost forcing retreat. I submerge entirely and move forward, eyes closed trusting
my instinct. Hands joined as in prayer, moving my body in symbiotic frames, then up for the
long draw inwards. My vision increases, and fear decreases, my body acclimatising slowly. I
follow shards of light and flashes of weeds moving underneath, relaxing my slow, closed
breathing to a deep abdominal calm. Just like old friends, the finest conversations and cheapest
of wines, we have refamiliarized. Too long. It’s been way too long. I’ve lost track of time. ‘It is
no loss at all,’ he whispers.
The evening sun has come down to greet me. We play tag, I admit defeat, she reclines,
arms outstretched holding all to account. I turn and float for what seems like an eternity. The rain
starts slowly, soft autumnal drops blurring all demarcation lines. A sudden foot-cramp brings me
back, I raise my head and see a small fishing boat passing. ‘Bloody pike,’ I hear them say. They
call to me to join them for some fresh cooked trout. I travel back with them, glad of the lift to
ease the cramping foot.
The little boy is no more than seven years old, eyes blacker than the lake and an ease of
thought that knows without questioning, no sounding line can measure such depth. I dress
quickly, we light a little campfire. We do not need much, we have everything, no longer alone.
We pass the evening in their company. They cook the brown trout delicately, it was Isaac’s
special catch. I split the sacred loaf, we eat well, ravenous and grateful, still in our comfortable
silence, illuminated by lakeside peace.
Evening moths and midgets descend, kept at bay by smouldering embers from the fire. It
is time to leave, they say, our fingers touch, grief ebbing away. We watch as they head slowly up
the gap. Dermot reaches out to clasp Isaac’s small, delicate hand. I call after him my voice
choked with tears, ‘Never let him go,’ he turns slowly to face me one more time. ‘I love you
always’ he says.
As I reach out to catch them, the words tumble to the water’s edge, float gracefully,
reaching an endless bed. I look behind, I cannot see them. My brother Sean reaches to catch me
as I fall. Kissing my forehead, he eases out my grieving hands, finger by finger, his thumbs
wiping the November tears from my face. ‘They are gone Maura mo stór they are gone’. He
holds me tight, blanket wrapped around me, bringing me back to the here and now. He whispers,
“How can the dead be truly dead, when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind?”
Clouds retreat and bow to the light edging through. The lovely loneliness of the glass lake,
mirroring the immeasurable chasms of my grief.