"It's like I want to go swimming, but I know the water is frigid." you say to me. I sit down on the lakebed next to you as you continue to speak. "It's always been cold, but I get used to it, little by little."
"You're always complaining your hands are cold." I speak up. "Maybe you aren't as used to it as you once thought."
You look at me and a half-laugh escapes your lips. I'm smiling now, stretching my legs out across the rocky lake bed and enjoying the sunlight.
You stare down at the reflective water, its bright blue coloring complimenting the rich greens of the forest-coated mountains that serve as our backdrop. It's always beautiful out here. The trees whisper their secrets to each other as the breezes pick through them. It has always felt like the trees had something to say, but couldn't speak them loud enough for us to care. Even currently as we know they speak, we disregard their words. The trees never have anything useful to say.
But the lake itself? It speaks volumes of secrets that we cannot reach. The closest we have is your feet dangling in the water, freezing to death as you attempt to tolerate the cold. Perhaps only your lower extremities will succumb to hypothermia. One can only hope. I want to urge you to stop, but I know as well as you that the mysteries of Lake Tumente are something you can only know by seeing it yourself.
That's when the fisherman comes. He takes his line and rod and prepares to cast. I pay no mind though you seem concerned.
"So cold." you whisper. I've never seen you so vulnerable, and even still you tough it out and pretend as though your words were just something you said as a joke.
"Would you like me to stick my feet in with you?" I offer. "In the least, it would be some sort of consolation."
"Would you, please?" You ask. "Maybe you can help me get in the water."
I smile, and greet you with a loud giggle. "Of course! I would love to help."
The fisherman casts his line into the water. It startles me, but it causes us to both look at the fisherman's badge, a large, red circle encompassing the words "Curiosity. Friendship. Perspective."
I look over towards you. You're freezing. I dip my feet in the water only to be greeted with the same feeling of pins and needles chilling over my toes.
"I've been trying for so long." You say, your voice trembling with the shivers. "I can't get into my own lake."
The fisherman reels in a large fish. It's almost as tall as he is, and certainly more wide. Its scales are a dull gray. It's face is lifeless, though it moves and wiggles occasionally.
"Wow." I say. "It's hard to believe that something that big was once inside this lake."
"I just wanna know what else is down there." You say. Your shivers have worsened and your face looks like it is turning blue. "Th-That fish was impressive."
And it certainly was, what with its size and shape. It could easily have made any fisherman proud, like the fisherman had just made a major breakthrough. We looked on in awe, though the goal remained the same. Get to the bottom of Lake Tumente.
For a moment, we both fall silent. The trees are still whispering, the air is still crisp with the spring air, and all I can think about is how freezing you must be as you try to push forward. You're so determined to see the bottom of this lake.
"Friend, we can always come back" I say to you. You look up at me, and breathe out harshly.
"Try again later, yeah." you say. "Maybe one day I'll learn how to not freeze to death trying to get in the water."
"Maybe the water just needs to get warmer." I say, helping you recover from the low temperatures.
"How do I make the water warmer?" You say.
The fisherman throws the fish back into the lake, and where the fish lands, ice begins to quickly form. It appears as though the lake is freezing over.
You jolt up, staring out at the spot where the ice has begun to form. A rush of fear runs through both of us, like a wave of energy crashing through us.
"I don't know how to make it warmer." I respond to you.
"I need help." You whisper.
"You'll get there, I promise!"
You stare at me as though I said something you completely did not understand. I stand next to you, and stare down into the lake.
"I have to get there." You say. "I have to see the bottom of the lake."
I smile and pat your back.
"We will all get there one day."