The Lakeland Dip by Stephen Goodlad

The landscape reflected in the mere, turning the morning upside down. Doris turned to her new boyfriend; “What do you think of that then?” 

His stunned expression told her everything. 

At the water’s edge, there was barely a ripple. The early sun peeped from behind the fell. “Strip off then” she ordered, and started to peel off her pullover. 

She knew John had his doubts which was confirmed as he started to rummage in his ruck-sack. “What are you looking for? She asked. 

“You never said I couldn’t wear a wet-suit.” 

“I said we’d do this on my terms.” 

“Oh” was the only response he could muster. 

“You won’t be needing this then.” Doris cast the rucksack further up the shore. 

Trembling now, looking feeble, he began to remove his clothes. His compromises and excuses exhausted. 

“You look a bit of a dipstick in your vest and pants if I might say so” she laughed. It was a front, she knew. What she really thought when she looked at John was: so, this is what love feels like; at last; increased heart rate, happiness. With him I can do or be anything. I feel lust, hope, excitement, anticipation, young again; even when I see him in his baggy Y fronts. 

She stood facing the lake, naked, and waited for him to join her.” Hold my hand, we’ll go in together.” 

They tiptoed over pebbles, breathing deeply as the water began to reach higher. “Ready?” 

John exhaled as he pushed off, gasping, then caught up Doris with a hurried breast-stroke. He looked at the scenery around him, felt the sensation of the cold tingling his body. 

“What do you think?” she asked again. 

“In all my eighty years” the excitement in his voice self-evident. “I have never felt more alive!” 

Published in Issue #21

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