Why My Name is Lake: A Narrative Fiction

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Her name was Lake, not the last name but the first. It didn't stand for anything except for itself. Her mother told her “that's where we found you, by the lake.” But she knew better now. She wasn't found at all. They made her by the lake in the way people did. The way you saw on TV. With soft moans and hard fingers and faces twisting in a pain that was really pleasure.
She was the youngest daughter, with fat cheeks and dark curls. Her oldest sister, Grace, had sleek pale hair parted in the middle. A natural part, she often said, unlike Lake's hair that decided each day which way it would lay. The middle sister was named Danice and she was the one that took Lake aside and explained all the lies Mother told her when she was five. You know, the usual ones about Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, Where Babies Came From, and How You Could Be Anything You Wanted When You Grew Up.
In the middle of the night, she went down to her namesake, as she often did, and watched the water repeat the stars. Letting the air that was moist and cozy in summer and stiff and crackled in winter drop around her like a blanket. It was quiet in the way small animals were, hidden within the enormity of it all, and only noticed because of the occasional falling leaf, snapping twig, or shiver of grass. When the moon shone, laying its white trail on the skin of the water, she wouldn't see it because the shadows were what moved in the silence, separated from the surrounding darkness by the light.
Here she wasn't told anything but all was understood. Here she grew larger, expanded, filling in the space until she couldn't take another breath. She gathered little sticks, puffs of moss and the weightless veins of dried leaves and made a fire out of them. Then the shad...

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...over her head while she rested there. She suddenly realized she was less sad than she had been before. An image surfaced from beneath her memory and Lake realized she knew this place.
She'd been a baby here and played under such a tree. It was here, where she belonged, that she'd been searching for this whole time. Popping her eyes open, she got to her feet and walked around the trunk. Yes, there it was. A hole in the back, right where she thought it would be. Digging in her bag, she pulled out the glass knob and fit in the metal post. It needed some adjustment, a wiggling, but finally was firmly stuck in place. She wiped her hands on her pants, then rubbed the palms together and turned the knob.
The door swung open and she entered the warm room of living wood. The antlered man sitting by the fireplace looked up from his book. “Hello Father,” she said. “I'm home.”

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