Inkling


He concentrated on a smooth round pebble at the bottom of the pond. The water was clear and transparent. He could even see fine lines crisscrossing over the stone. It was a flawless little stone, so perfectly sitting in the cool water. Suddenly a wave of ripples on the surface of the water broke his gaze. A dark grey fish swam over the pebble and his eyes followed the little goldfish, knowing that hers were doing the same, the Black Telescope being her favorite. His own pet was swimming in a backwater, away from the rest. That was probably why he liked the Pompom. Also the name implied inflation – it was relatable.

The black fish disappeared under a pile of stones.

“Did you go?” she asked.

“No.”

“Why not?”

“I couldn’t.”

She turned to look at him. “Sure you could.”

He leaned down the footbridge to see if the fishes were eating the lettuce they’d dropped in the pond.

“You’re scared is all.” And somehow that was everything.

She snatched away the beanie from his head and pulled it over her own. He instantly reached up to ruffle his hair back to normal. She smiled – she probably couldn’t care less about what her own hair which was cropped short looked like.

“You know what?” she grinned. “I’ll take you.”

To the waterfall. When?

“Just now. Come on!”

She grabbed his hand and dragged him off the small wooden bridge.

***

It was like he had been caught in an eddy and was finally free – except that now he was floating downstream. He should have guessed. She liked a black fish over colourful others. She listened to Lady Gaga and wrote poems about vampires. Her white high-tops were filled with bizarre doodles – a muscular frog with daisies for eyes being the weirdest. He’d been so busy admiring her eccentric taste and style. It’d made her seem unique and insanely chic.  

Now she looked at him with a sparkle in her eyes. “Isn’t she pretty?” It was hardly a question.

But he nodded anyhow. What else was he supposed to do?

***

The beanie fell off her head as she ran over the causeway. Seemingly glad that it didn't fall into the mud underneath, she picked it up and beckoned to him to hurry. He tried to keep up but the thin planks under his feet kept squeaking precariously. Also he wasn’t very keen to get to the waterfall.

They did though, ultimately.

It was a dangerously tall thick sheet of ferocious water plunging down a massive cliff. The roaring sound was enough to make him go deaf. White foams churning in the base made him claustrophobic.

“Can we go back?” he had to shout to be heard.

She stopped tossing pebbles into the plunge pool and looked at him for a while, those soft brown eyes concealing disapproval.  “Okay.” 


CONVERSATION

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