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Friday, April 12, 2019

Microstory 1080: Elsie

When I was growing up, my family was so close to the family next door that they actually built an adjoining addition between our two houses, to make it one. The four parents constructed it by their own hands, using designs my architect father drew up. A sky bridge will allow you to walk from one house to the other from the second story, while the first floor retains some open space in the center to walk through, and access our joint backyard. The boy next door was my best friend for years, until he died in a boating accident that Viola should have been able to prevent. I know, I know, beggars can’t be choosers, but I never understood why she was able to save me, and not him. It was the summer after middle school, and Ingram—that was his first name—and I wanted to do something fun, just by ourselves, before classes started. We were dreading going into high school, because though we always had each other, we didn’t really get along with anyone else, and this giant place seemed so threatening back then. This was not anywhere near the first time we went out in that row boat without adult supervision, so we were pretty confident in our abilities. We even checked the weather for the rest of the day, because we were so careful and thoughtful. The storm literally came out of nowhere, right on top of us, like an evil force was trying to attack. Ingram and I did everything we could to reach the shore, which wasn’t that far away, but those waves made it impossible to control the boat, and the rain and clouds made it impossible to see. Naturally, we tipped over, but that shouldn’t have been the end, because we were both wearing life vests, we knew how to swim, and storms don’t last forever. We held hands as best we could, but we were eventually separated from each other. As I was trying to get back to him, I felt two arms lift me in the air, and then I watched as the entire lake swam over to the side, so that I could land safely on solid ground. By the time I looked back, Viola was gone. I actually don’t have any proof that she was the one who raised me out of there, but I can’t think of anyone else who would be capable of it. Following this ordeal, Viola started following me around, like some kind of emotional support animal. Obviously this was the most traumatic experience of my life. People got it in their heads that Viola and I were friends, but it wasn’t that easy. I was grateful for what she did, but I also couldn’t help but resent her for what she didn’t do...couldn’t do. She never did admit to being on the lake that day, but I’ll always know that she chose to let Ingram die, while I have to live without him. So was Viola a great person? Well, yes, she was. But she also wasn’t perfect.

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