How To Forget
Setting: The lake.
(faint lights, night sounds, Rachel and Darren, both fifteen, in swim suits, sit on the end of the dock, Darren's feet in the water below, Rachel has her legs tucked up, knees to her chin)
Rachel: I can't do that, not at night. Usually, I get freaked out doing it during the day too. You just don't know. Can't see anything.
Darren: Nothing bad lives in this lake though.
R: A pike will bite your toes if they're wiggling right.
D: (stops wiggling his toes) I'm not wiggling my toes.
R: You're probably okay, but I still don't do it.
D: But you swim at night.
R: Yeah, sure, but...
D: You can't see anything then either.
R: No, but...
D: There's nothing would hurt you in this lake lake anyway.
R: I don't think so, but something always gets me about just dangling my feet in the water. Something comes up from the dark, from the bottom, and you don't see it.
R: What's worse isn't something maybe biting you, but just something brushing against your feet, and you don't know what it is. You just feel something touch your foot underwater.
D: Doesn't worry me, things stay away from people when even just a part of them is in the water. Like bears in the woods.
R: You're not dangling your feet in the woods.
D: You know what I mean. I mean that things stay away from people, in general.
R: If they're able to; could be like some weeds, or garbage, something like that.
D: That doesn't scare me.
R: Fifteen years ago, they found a woman's body floating in the lake.
D: Oh. Really?
R: It was the summer I was born. Thing is the body was floating about four or five feet under the surface. Naked, some fish had taken bites. The woman had been dead a long time. I don't think they ever were able to say who it was. She was unrecognizable. Total creepy mystery. My Dad told me all about it.
D: (forcing himself to remain sitting with feet in the water) Yeah.
R: Hate to have that bump into my feet, underwater, late at night.
D: No kidding.
R: You're pretty brave, Darren.
D: It's nothing.
R: Yeah.... (long pause) It's still so warm.
D: I know.
R: But, no mosquitoes. Usually, I can't come out at night in just my swim suit.
D: I bet. Mosquitoes are probably pretty bad at night.
R: They are... (long pause) How do you think she died?
D: Probably, someone dumped her body in the lake after they killed her somewhere else.
R: That's what I think. They might have weighted her down, so she wouldn't float.
D: Or drunk kids, maybe. Some kids drinking and stealing a motorboat. Maybe she fell out, and they didn't even notice.
R: Yeah, that's possible, except people would notice, like parents, if someone was gone like that. Plus, my Dad said it was an older woman.
R: You know what it could have been?
R: It's weird...
R: Like, really strange, but... ahhh...
D: What is it? Like you think she wasn't human or something?
R: No, no... I think... Well...
D: Tell me. I want to hear.
R: I think she did it herself.
R: Yeah, suicide...
D: That's not so weird.
R: Except, I think, here was this woman. She was totally alone in the world, maybe she lived with no one, no one knew here, nothing, and she was just horribly sad. She goes to the swampy end of the lake, late at night, it's foggy, and she just walks in, and sinks. The muck and the grasses and the fog just swallow her up. The body sits there for a long time 'til one spring the muck lets her go. She's weighted down, but kind of floats too, and she just drifts along, under boats, waterskiers, everything, maybe she does this for years. I think that's much worse than any sort of murder or accident. She just buried herself in the lake. It's so sad.
D: That is pretty sad, Rachel.
R: Everything in her life was just too much. She was probably crushed by the weight of it all. So, she just made herself weightless. She probably wanted to stay in the lake forever, stuck between the deep and the shallow.
R: When I think about it, I feel bad for her that she was taken out. The lake was her grave, and we took her out.
D: If she died that way.
R: I think she did.
D: Yeah, probably.
R: How do you forget something like that?
D: The dead woman?
R: Yeah, how do you forget about it? I mean, now that I know about it, I can't just sit here and dangle my feet in the water. I guess I'm glad I know the story, but I also want to put my feet in the water.
D: Oh, yeah, well... you probably just have to do it.
R: No way.
D: I think the only way to forget something is to have the experience but without any bad things happening, and you can't have the experience without just doing it.
R: (fear) Darren.
D: You have to. The more you do it without anything bad happening the better off you'll be.
R: I... (starts moving feet toward the water) I can't!
D: (grabbing her hand) No, no. You can. Go on, just lower them down. They'll be right next to mine.
R: (shaking a bit, gripping Darren's hand, lowering her feet) Nnnnnnnhhhh.... (with starts and stops lowers her feet, looking to Darren for reassurance) There! (shaking, nervous, but with feet in water) I did it...
D: Yeah! Alright! I knew you could. See... (pause) and if you think about really good things when your feet are in the water then you'll forget the bad things even more.
R: Really good things like this? (She kisses him hard on the lips, a very nervous, but excited kiss)
D: Uhhhh... yeah... yeah, like that.
R: (yanking feet from the water, screaming) AHHH! Ohmigod, ohmigod! Something brushed against my foot!
D: That was my foot.
R: Ohhh... ohhh, okay... that's, that's a good thing too.
(she moves to kiss him again, lowering her feet back into the water at the same time)
(lights and night sounds fade)