Amber lay on the sloping bank, her feet cooling in the river. She looked across the river to a house. A dragonfly hovered in front of her nose. Dragonflies do live up to their name, she thought. They seem so old. Amber felt old, too old to be lusting after young boys, well, young men. On the opposite bank of the river, in the garden of the house, were three such young men. They were probably about 25 and they were mowing the lawns. She had been walking along the river and one of their naked torsos had caught her attention. She hadn’t really thought about it but suddenly her feet had felt quite hot and tired. Perhaps cooling them in the water might be good after all.
Amber stopped, sat and took off her shoes. She suddenly wasn’t sure about the water. It looked clean enough but it had only really been warm for the last few days. The water was liable to be freezing. She didn’t have a towel to dry her feet afterwards either. But she decided that it would look better if she was cooling her feet. Otherwise somebody looking might have thought she was just there watching. She wanted it to be clear that she had just stopped to cool her feet. That the lawn mowers had probably arrived afterwards and that their noise was probably an annoyance rather than anything else.
But the noise was perfect. The drone of the mowers, the slipping of the stream, the birds calling out to each other. Amber wondered if there were bashful birds? A Zeppelin-like bee came poot-pooting past. It was doing a pretty fair approximation of the lawnmowers. The breeze was making the grass tickle Amber’s fingers. The sun was warming her face and chest. Amber experienced the summer version of “did-I-leave-the-gas-on?” which is “did-I-remember-sunblock-this-morning?”. Which of course she had. What about her feet? The water was probably washing it off. It was supposed to be waterproof, but she had never really believed that, when the children were young she had always rubbed sunblock back in the moment they had come out of the water. She started wondering how the children were doing. Neither of them had called for a few days. What were they doing? She hoped they were happy.
Amber caught herself. She had forgotten the moment she was in. For a second she wondered if any of these three had called their mothers recently. Of course they had, she decided, they were good boys. Despite the sun on her the running river was robbing Amber of her heat. It was probably time to move on. Amber began to worry as she often had in the last few weeks. Even in the perfect situation she didn’t seem to be able to live in the moment. Her brain kept cycling on.
She wondered when she last did something impulsive. Something tried to tell her that just stopping and admiring the view had been impulsive. But not really, she knew it wasn’t really. She had worried what people who saw her would think. There are no bashful birds, she thought.
And with that she stood up, and threw herself into the river. She righted herself and launched herself upwards, breaking the surface of the water. She started treading water and shouting, “Help, help”.
Her dress, waterlogged, had stuck itself very tightly to her body. All three of the young men who had been mowing the lawn heard the noise, downed tools, and started running towards Amber.
“Interesting,” Amber thought, “I wonder what I should do next?”
“No,” another part of her brain said rather firmly, “we will just have to find out what happens next. For now, it is not for us to decide.”