Once long ago, in a land far away… well… really this story takes place on the shores of Lake Ontario.
Two little girls, one with dark hair and one with blond, the very best of friends, practically grew up there. One of the little girls, Shanna*, actually did grow up there. Her house’s front yard was the great lake itself. The other little girl, Chloe, simply adored water…and Shanna… so staying at her BFF’s house was always a dream come true. Living only a few miles away made it easy to share the lake life. So much of her young life was spent at Shanna’s house that nearly all of her fondest childhood memories come from that home and that family.
On this day, Shanna and Chloe were doing what they loved best in the summer at the lake: swim. Swimming out far into the lake, as far as their young limbs could comfortably carry them, they found a sand bar that they could stand upon, looking back at the shore and the houses in the distance with the water lapping at their knees. It was as if they were filled with magic and walking on water!
After some time on the sand bar, they frolicked back toward the shore, playing like fresh-water dolphins. Midway there, as they were floating in the gentle waters, Shanna asked her friend, “Have you ever skinny dipped?” Flushing with embarrassment, her cheeks showing extra pink on her fair skin because of the sun kisses she’d received that day, Chloe exclaimed, “No!”
Shanna arched her cute, dark eyebrows and said, “D’ya wanna?”
It was one of those questions where you knew it was probably not the “good” and “right” thing to do. And it was also one of those times when the little devil on your shoulder out-shouts the little angel on the other shoulder. Sometimes it felt good to be “bad”. Chloe grinned. “Yeah.”
Treading water, as they were in a place where their feet did not touch, the two girls took off their swimsuits, giggling and glancing back at the shore in the distance. The water was murky enough that it not only gave them privacy from any people who might be looking out at them, but from each other as well. It was a strange feeling to have the water lapping all around their bodies, every place imaginable, and it made them giggle harder, feeling free, like they imagined Mermaids would feel.
“What should we do with our suits?” Shanna asked.
Chloe dove beneath the water, disappearing for several moments. Coming up, she angled herself toward shore, aligning herself with one of Shanna’s neighbor’s boat dock. She dove beneath the waters again. Rising to the surface again she said, “I found a rock. We can weigh our suits down with it.”
Chloe took Shanna’s suit and dove down, down until her fingers brushed the large rock. She placed the suits beneath it and kicked to the surface again. The girls had a few laughs and horsed around, making sure to never rise up out of the water very far. Even though there was no one on shore, AND they were pretty far away, they still worked hard to maintain some privacy, while relishing in the feeling of total freedom!
Time passed and as they came up from air from one of their many dives beneath the water, Shanna gasped! Looking toward what had grabbed Shanna’s attention, Chloe noticed Shanna’s mother on the shore, calling to them. It was time to come in out of the water and get dinner.
Terrified, the girls looked at each other. “Where are the bathing suits?” Shanna whispered. Shouting to her mom, she said, “Be right there!” But her mom didn’t leave the shore line, watching the girls to make sure they were coming for dinner.
Chloe realigned herself with the dock and dove beneath the waters. Desperately, she felt around for the rock she knew was holding their suits. She had no luck and surfaced again. Taking another deep breath, back under water she went, continuing the search. Through the murky darkness of the water, she could see Shanna swimming around too, touching the bottom and causing the sand to billow up, obscuring her view even more.
The both surfaced. It had only been seconds, but if felt like far too long to keep Shanna’s mother waiting.
Shanna looked slightly panicked. Chloe took a deep breath, fighting to contain the tears that always come when she’s scared or panicked. They looked at each other, wordlessly saying in their expressions, “what are we going to do?”
Chloe again realigned herself with the dock, checked her distance from the shore and inhaled deeply. Diving down, she tried swimming straight for the dock, feeling for the rock as she went. Maybe they had drifted further from shore. Water could be deceiving.
Her fingers touched cloth. Oxygen expended, she surfaced quickly, gasping for air and speaking at the same time, “I found them!” She took another breath, pushed herself straight down to where she found the rock and rescued both of their suits. Surfacing again, she tossed Shanna’s suit to her. Both, treading water, quickly donned their swimwear and then swam as quickly as they could toward Shanna’s mother, and dinner.
Relieved is not a big enough word to describe the feelings they had. But they also both felt a huge sense of newly found bravery, and freedom.
What a wonderful summer day that was!
*names have been changed to protect the skinny dippers.
Thank you for sharing my first experience at Storytelling Sundays (and skinny dipping - shhhh)... I finally remembered! :)