She sat on the rock wall ledge that overlooked the beach. Below her, maybe six feet down, she could see what would be the shoreline in the summer. She could almost hear the waves splashing against the sand, bringing in clam shells and drift wood with every wave. She could almost feel the hot sun on her face, and she remembered the countless hours she would spend laying on the dock to get that perfect tan, and listening to the calling Loons, the quacking ducks, and the fish splashing around in the water.
But it was the dead of winter now. All the bright beautiful colors of summer were covered with a thick blanket of white snow. The trees appeared dead without their vibrant leaves blowing in the summer breeze, and the once vivid blue sky was now a dull grey. A grey that said more cold was to come.
This had been their spot. They would sit up here for hours watching the water until the big orange sun went down behind the trees across. Today marked the one year anniversary. It had been one full year of loss, pain, torture, and turmoil. Nothing had been the same since that day. She had not been the same since that day.
A cold wind blew against her uncovered face and whipped her long red hair around until it was a tangled mess. She didn’t care though. The sting of the cold against her face felt good. It was a numbing feeling that masked the warmth of tears that were running down her cheeks.
It amazed her that she used to love this time of the year. She would be in awe of the way the trees looked like they had been frosted with crystals overnight. It used to be a magical world for her, full of beauty and cleanliness. Now all it looked like was death and ugliness.
Sometimes the pain was too hard to bear, she didn’t understand all the reasons why, she only knew what she wanted to do. She stood up and walked down the old wooden stairs that had been built into the sides of the rock wall to lead down to the beach. One by one the creaking of the wood seemed to scream at her to stop. She felt like they were pleading with her to turn around and head back up the hill to the warm house. But she ignored their pleas and made her way to the shore.
The shoreline was slushy from the unusually warmer weather, but that didn’t stop her from taking her first step out onto the frozen lake. At first the cracking and popping of the ice scared her and she almost turned around. She stopped in her tracks about 15 feet away from the beach and looked back at the house. She was surprised no one could see her from the big windows that faced the water. She turned away from the house, took a deep breath and continued walking towards the middle of the lake. She could see the spots of ice on the lake that were thinning, and she picked one and started walking towards it. With every step she took her heart started racing, and the pounding was so strong she could see the vibration of every beat on her chest. The sounds around her seemed to grow louder and louder. She could hear the water hitting the underside of the ice, the tree branches scraping other branches in the wind, she could hear the flapping wings of the bird that was flying over her head, and then as suddenly as all the sounds came, they stopped, and silence swept over the lake. She stood extremely still and took in a deep breath. There was an ear splitting crackling noise and before she could even blink she plunged through the ice.
The freezing water numbed her whole body instantly and made it impossible for her to move any of her limbs. That didn’t matter to her though; she had no intention of fighting. She kept her eyes open as she slowly sank through the water. Her vibrant red hair swirled around her and to an unknowing eye it would appear as though she had been shot for her hair turned the water around her blood red. It was the only color in this seeming less grey world.
She was sinking farther down; the hole at the top of the ice was getting smaller in appearance. She was watching her air bubbles slowly float up to the surface and explode when they reached the top. She wondered when they would notice that she was missing, and if they would ever find her body. However, that was out of her hands now, and she really didn’t care because the darkness was starting to swallow her in, she could feel a burning sensation in her lungs that almost seemed to spread throughout her whole body.
She thought that maybe this is how he had felt on that horrible day exactly one year ago. She bet she was calmer than him, he was a fighter and he would have fought to survive, but this is what she wanted so she saw no point in fighting. She focused again on the hole in the ice at the surface, it was really small now, and rays of white light were shining through the opening and casting light in different directions through the water.
She released the last of her air as she hit the bottom of the lake, and watched the bubbles float to the surface. It seemed to take forever. It was getting harder to keep her eyes open and her body was starting to struggle without any oxygen. Again she could feel her heart beat. It started out so fast that she could have sworn the vibrations of every beat were sending ripples through the water. She listened to the beats, and then they started to slow Ba Bum, Ba Bum.. Ba Bum…Ba Bum…..Ba Bum………..Ba Bum. Darkness was coming at her from all angles now, and the last thing she saw before she closed her eyes was a bright white light tainted red with her hair.
Suddenly a voice snapped her out of her daydream and back into reality. Someone was calling to her from the doorway of the house to come inside to open up Christmas presents with everyone. She smiled, stood up, and faced the lake once more before heading inside. She had made it through one year of unbearable pain. She looked down at the wedding band she still wore on her left hand. It sent a pain through her heart, but the pain was duller than a week ago, than a month ago, then half a year ago. She realized how far she’d come in a year. No matter how much it hurt she knew now that she had to keep walking forward, and one day, only fate would know when, the pain would subside, and the colors would come back to the world, and she decided that would be enough to live for.