An August Memory
A moment of happiness between Lindsay and Maggie drives the best friends apart forever.
The air was warm and wet. Lindsay felt like she could dissolve into it, baking and melting in the sun. When she first laid down in the grass it provided some cooling comfort, but as the heat from her body bled into the earth, the ground became just as warm as the air above it. A bead of sweat formed along her hairline and plummeted down her temple, getting caught in the folds of her ear. She pressed her palm to the ear, trying to disperse the droplet and ease the instant irritation it brought her.
“Mosquito?” Asked Maggie. Her eyes remained closed as she lay next to Lindsay.
“Just sweat,” Lindsay replied, wiping her hand on her skirt. “You know mosquitoes don’t care about me.”
“Lucky,” Maggie grumbled, swatting at a bug irritating her ear.
Lindsay smiled. She watched Maggie’s hand wave as she flicked her wrist to and fro. When she was irritated like this, Maggie would scrunch up her nose and furrow her brow. Her lips formed into a sweet little pout. It was one of Lindsay’s favourite sights in the world. As much as it made her smile, it also pained her. Deep in Lindsay’s heart, she felt the ache of desire. Like usual, she pushed it down and tried to distract herself.
“I need a swim,” Lindsay said in her cheeriest voice. She strained to lift herself up off the ground, feeling the grass, sticky with her sweat, peeling from her skin. “Care to join me?” She asked Maggie with a mischievous smile.
“Here?” Maggie replied, looking at the pond with skepticism.
“Why not?” Lindsay got to her feet and put her hands on her hips in a playful challenge. “The Carson family farm is miles away. No one see you, no one will get mad.”
“There could be leeches,” Maggie crinkled her nose again and Lindsay’s heart fluttered.
“Oh, come on,” Lindsay laughed. “If you get a leech, I’ll pull it off for you,” she said as she unbuttoned her blouse.
A sweet little smile crept onto Maggie’s face. “All right,” she said, nervous but excited.
While Lindsay tossed her clothes to the ground, Maggie carefully folded her blouse and skirt before placing them carefully on a flat, clean-looking rock.
“You know how my mother reacts when my clothes get dirty,” Maggie said, already anticipating Lindsay’s thoughts.
After a few quick steps, Lindsay jumped into the water. The cool water felt frigid compared to the August heat. It was just deep enough for her to need to tread water. She ducked her head underwater for a moment, then emerged. She wiped the water from her face and took a deep, refreshing breath.
Maggie was moving slower, wading in carefully and already clenching up at the cold.
“How are you already freezing?” Lindsay called out to her.
“Because it’s water!” Maggie laughed, knowing how ridiculous it was that she was shivering on such a hot day.
As Maggie’s body slowly submerged in the water, Lindsay caught herself staring. She turned away, pretending as if she was just casually doing laps around the pond. In reality, she was getting herself under control. Lindsay knew it was wrong to stare. That she shouldn’t be feeling whatever it was she was feeling whenever she looked at Maggie or thought about her. She knew that the yearning to touch her and hold her was something she could never indulge. And she knew that every time she called Maggie’s house to see if she was available and came up with things for them to do together that she was really just finding moments to pretend that these feelings were okay. She knew that she just wanted an excuse to be around Maggie all the time, every second of her life, making it even harder when they were apart or whenever Lindsay’s mind was clear enough to see how wrong this was.
Again, she pushed those feelings aside and instead just swam with her best friend.
After they were finished swimming, they laid in the grass again, drying off, talking and laughing.
“I’m impressed you kept your hair completely dry,” Lindsay remarked.
“I just got it set two days ago,” Maggie said, gently touching her dark curls to make sure they’d stayed in place. “My mother would be so mad if I mussed them up. And if she found out I was swimming in a pond.”
“She needs to relax,” Lindsay smiled, rolling onto her stomach, towards Maggie. “And let you have some fun.”
They were both smiling as they always did when they were together, but suddenly, with their faces so close, their eyes widened and their smiles held still, suspended. The air was thick with humidity and tension. Lindsay looked at Maggie’s face: the red in her cheeks, the freckles on her nose, her rosy lips. She gazed into Maggie’s big, round, deep brown eyes, and was filled with the agony of longing.
Lindsay leaned closer. Maggie’s breath caught in her throat and her heart pounded. Closer and closer, their bodies drew together until finally, they kissed. The moment their lips touched, Lindsay felt of rush of heat and excitement. She raised her hand and grazed her fingertips along Maggie’s cheek. Everything about her was just as soft, warm, and beautiful as Lindsay had hoped.
After their perfect kiss, they lingered next to the pond as long as they could. Lindsay looked at their reflection in the water, at the two girls perfectly happy together, and felt that she was finally seeing something real. That it was a truthful version of herself she’d never realized was missing.
The sun set and the girls parted for the day. There was a shyness and a thrill between them that had never been there before. Maggie blushed and looked away as she said goodbye, and Lindsay hoped that she would remember that sight perfectly and completely for the rest of her life.
The next day, Lindsay woke up with a smile on her face. She rode her bicycle to Maggie’s house, her heart fluttering again in anticipation of seeing her best friend and what more could happen between them.
When Lindsay arrived, she set her bike down on the lawn like usual and approached the house. Before she reached the front door, Maggie’s mother, Mrs. Gardner, emerged from the house with a furious look on her face. Lindsay froze. Instantly, she knew what had happened.
“You’re not coming inside,” Mrs. Gardner said, at exactly a low enough volume to avoid attracting the neighbours’ attention. “And you’re never seeing Maggie again.” Her tone was resolute. Lindsay knew she was a hard woman, but she had to fight back.
“Mrs. Gardner, please, I—” Lindsay began to retort.
“Don’t say another word,” Mrs. Gardner whispered, snarling through clenched teeth, raising a pointed finger. “Maggie told me you made her undress and forced yourself on her.”
“What?” Lindsay gasped. Her heart ached and she felt a pit open in her stomach.
“If you ever speak to Maggie again, I’m going to tell everyone.” With that, she slammed the door.
Lindsay stood there, stunned, awash with complex feelings. She was indignant, furious, defensive, heartbroken, and terrified. Not knowing what else to do, she staggered back to her bicycle. With shaking hands, she picked it up by the handlebars.
Before riding away, she glanced up at the house. Maggie was sitting in the upstairs window, looking out, tears streaming down her cheeks. Her face with twisted with turmoil, weeping as she touched a gentle hand to the window. Lindsay couldn’t bring herself to offer a comforting gesture. She glared at Maggie, her heart and eyes filled with scorn and betrayal, and she rode away.
Even though Lindsay never spoke to Maggie again, the word got out. She was labelled a “deviant” and other, worse words. Her mother was despondent, and her father was filled with rage. They sent Lindsay away to complete her senior year at a school with a program for teenagers like her, in the hopes that she would return for the winter holidays reformed.
“You know the MacMillan boy?” Her mother said as Lindsay unpacked her bag, settling in for her two-week stay in her old room.
“Tommy? What about him?” Lindsay asked.
“He’s working for his father’s drug store. Seems like he could take it over soon. He’s quite handsome, too.”
Lindsay looked at her mother with a morose smile. She knew what was coming.
“Tonight? He’ll pick you up at 7?” Her mother asked, her voice cracking slightly. She looked at her daughter and could see the pain running through her. She told herself it was for the best.
“Perfect,” Lindsay replied, suppressing the dread inside her. “Thank you, mother.”
With a strained, painful smile, her mother nodded and left the room. Lindsay looked out her window at the gently falling snow. She instantly thought of Maggie, bundled up in her mittens, hat, and bright blue coat, waiting at the bus stop. Her cheeks would redden, and her eyes would sparkle.
What used to be a fond memory now left Lindsay bitter and angry. She pushed those feelings down, trying to implement the lessons she’d learned at her new school. Sitting on the side of her bed and closing her eyes, she recited a prayer asking God to save her from wickedness. But her heart wasn’t in it. Her heart wasn’t in anything anymore. It was easier to feel nothing than to allow herself to feel all that remained: misery.
Lindsay’s date with Tommy went well enough. She knew he was a kind, respectable young man who would treat her well and make an ideal husband.
If I have to get married, it may as well be to him, she thought as she walked the streets of town the following day. She resigned herself to Tommy’s courtship.
Lindsay told herself she was letting her feet take her wherever they wanted, but that was a lie. She was walking out to the Carson farm, past the barn to the back corner, where a pond lay, completely frozen. The silvery-white surface masked the black depths beneath, encasing the frogs, bugs, and plants in an icy tomb. The bleak, desolate landscape felt unrecognizable compared to the lush, lively green she saw the last time she was here.
She stood next to the pond, in the same spot where she had kissed Maggie. This place, where she had experienced her fleeting, singular moment of pure happiness, marked the end of any chance of a happy future. Looking at the water now, she couldn’t see her reflection.
About the Creator
My dream is to write something that will rival my one Google review that somehow got 10k views.
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