Tuesday, August 5

The Rest of The

group were lingering somewhere within the trees and around them the silence of the lake. Upon finishing my packed lunch – provided by those hardworking young men women at the camp – I strolled down to the lake’s side. The way Wales buckled up around me was as though it didn’t wish me to see the rest of it, out of bounds, secret, private, a parent’s bedroom. Up came the hilltops and the trees, the wobbling stems. I stood by the water’s edge to take in the vista.
The green was deep and was dark and its belly was severely lightened by the chlorophyll’s absence (but darkened by the shade). Whistling, they rummaged. On the other side of the lake – to swim across it would kill you, a child, surely – were the peeking eyes of shop windows. They were very far away. I could not reach them. The beach of the lake was made of many pebbles, all grey brown and none of them pronouncing themselves to me more than the other. All the sand had gone from between the pebbles, leaving them dry and soft to touch. I lifted one up and held it between my fingers (over my satisfied belly – and the camp’s staff did take care of us, though these days I forget what they looked like). To search for the right kind of stone, or pebble. When you hold it in your hands, you know very well it is the right kind of stone and you clutch it with happiness.
Leaning down, I spread my feet, angled my body and spun the stone across the surface.
Bounce.
Bounce.
Bounce.
Boun.
Bou.
B.
Plop.
The plop is too distant for me to hear.
Where are my parents? I miss them. My granddad will die in less than a month. I have no friends in the world and certainly none on this trip organised by the school. I find another stone and carry out the same; it bounces numerous times and is swallowed.
If the lake rolls out and rolls out then it rolls out forever and is undisturbed if only for the breach of its surface by a hunting fish. Some other boys have joined me. We talk as we hurl the stones, one by one, into the glass sheet lake’s face. The stones bounce. The sky is grey with fingers of grey that run down the hills, into the valleys and massage the lake grey and not a sun to look up at but a far and wide nothingness.
Soon there are many boys, all by the lake’s side, spinning stones carefully at the water’s surface (be sure of the angle; measure it just right or lose everything). No one really said anything; just a small crowd throwing round flat stones at the body of water, over and over.

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