Our moms called from the screen porch of our lake house. “We leave in fifteen minutes! Don’t jump in yet, we have to be at the restaurant by noon!”
We had to meet our cousins from DC at the restaurant and then we’d all come back here and spend the night. But that meant we had to stay out of the water for another three more hours.
I spoke first. “I dare you,” speaking to no one in particular, a smile already forming on my lips.
“Who’s going in first?” My best friend Maheen shouted excitedly.
We all glanced around pretending to think, and then looked at my brother, laughing.
“No way.” He stood up making the wooden dock creak, smiling. “I’m not even dressed.”
Out of all of us, he was probably the most responsible and mature. We watched his smile fade as we started walking closer to him, making the loose boards squeak with every step.
“Guys! I’m serious! Don’t!”
“Don’t worry, we’ll be right behind you!” Maheen laughed as she pushed my brother into the choppy lake.
As she pushed him in, my brother caught hold of her hand and dragged her in with him, making a loud splash in the water as they drenched their clothes. They both reached the surface of the water, laughing.
Suddenly I felt someone pushing me into the water as well. I tried to hold onto anything I could find on the dock, but all I got was the thick, humid air in my desperate palms. I hit the cold water forcefully, and a rush of adrenaline surged through me. Even under the surface I could hear my friends scream in delight as I felt the water whirl around me. Cold water was surrounding me everywhere, and it felt so good contrasted to the sticky warm air.
I rose to the surface and felt the dense air quickly surround my face. I looked on the dock and saw Maheen’s brothers laughing at me as they jumped in as well. As I went under the surface to avoid getting my face sprayed, I ended up taking a gulp of salty, cringe-worthy water, and felt my face scrunch up. I rose to the surface again, wiping my face and found Maheen and myself laughing at my expression.
We were all in the lake, soaked in our day clothes, but none of us cared.
Well, none of us cared until we heard creaking footsteps march down the dock. We looked up to find our moms hovering above us.
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” They shouted down at us. “We told you FIVE minutes ago to not do what you just did!” We all looked at each other, treading in the cool water, as we tried to stomp down our somewhat thrilled expressions as we looked up at their dark silhouettes shaded from the sun.
The weight of the situation was lifted when our dads came down to the dock and started laughing. Our moms’ faces were in even more shock when they jumped in as well. All of us knew our dads were much more laid back about not following the rules to have fun, and we weren’t surprised when our moms, appalled, stood up and left, heading to the car and driving off to the restaurant without us.
We spent a little bit longer in the water, and then got out and headed in to wash up in the clothes that stuck to us like glue. As soon as we got inside the cold air conditioned house, we all shivered, our teeth chattering. But when we looked back at the dock leading out to the lake, we all laughed, knowing that our moms angry expressions and our clicking teeth were completely worth it.
As we walked inside the crisp-aired house, I remembered a quote from English last year by Emily Dickinson. I wrote the quote down earlier and stored it in one of my pockets. I reached into my back jean pocket and sure enough it was there, untouched by the water aside from a couple of damp corners. “Forever is composed of nows.” I laughed to myself and headed upstairs.