Shivers raced over my skin. A long cold river flowed swiftly passed. Snow covered the land. I was on one side of the river. My friends, my family, and my heart were on the other. To them I was lost.
I climbed the dead tree that overlooked the mountains. The small boat I’d used to row over was banked just below me. I couldn’t go home ever again. My destiny was now intertwined with that of the river.
“Madge!” a voice floated over to me. I glanced down from my perch to see Parker looking lost and lonely on the opposite side of the river.
I’d said my goodbye for long enough. Now it was time to leave. I slid out of the tree and into the boat.
“Madge, please, no!”
I couldn’t look at him as I picked up the paddle, and began rowing downstream with the current.
“Madge! Don’t leave! I love you!”
The paddle landed with a clatter in the bottom of the boat. I spun around, and gazed longingly after him. He was the prize I couldn’t have. He was the only thing I wanted. But I had to leave. I had no other choice. “I love you too,” I whispered at his diminishing figure. I turned forward and picked up my fallen paddle.
A sudden splash made me turn around. Parker was no longer there. His head popped above the water, and he began taking awkward strokes in my direction as the ice cold water began to freeze him.
“Parker!” I screamed. I rapidly paddled in his direction. I’d almost reached him when his head disappeared from sight.
I threw myself at the side of the boat, and stretched my arms as far as they would go into the place he’d disappeared. Please grab my hand, I screamed in my head. Grab my hand!
Something bumped against me slightly. I clung to the hand and pulled upward with all my might. Parker came up out of the water gasping. He was only half in the boat, and I struggled with all my might to pull him the rest of the way without capsizing. When he was in, I striped him of his coat and shirt. We both knew we had to get his clothes off him quick or he’d suffer from hypothermia.
I tossed him one of my blankets, and turned around while he peeled away his wet leggings. I busied my self with taking off my own coat and shirt, leaving only my thin undershirt.
When he was ready, I grabbed another blanket and spun to face him. He was sitting on the seat, bare-chested, to one side, shivering. The first blanket was wrapped like a cocoon around his lower half. I wrapped my large coat around him and draped the blanket over it. Sitting down on the bench but facing the other way, I slipped my arms inside the coat and wrapped them around his chest. He pulled the ends of the coat and blanket around my back and held the tightly.
“Sometimes you’re so stupid, Parker,” I mumbled against his chest as we floated down the river, willing my body heat to warm him. It was all I could do to hold back tears.
“I-I c-c-couldn’ le’ y-y-you g-go,” he stuttered. “N-n-not wi’ou’ m-me.”
I felt a warmth spread over me. Maybe I wouldn’t have to go alone after all.