—It was supposed to be breezy this afternoon.
—And now it’s hot.
—Everything hurts but it’s my foot at the moment. I think I have gout.
—You don’t have the gout.
—My dad has it.
—So, I can inherit it.
—It’s a man disease.
—Women can get it too. I’ve been drinking a lot lately, and I need to cut back.
—You better come swimming.
—I told you I’m not swimming.
—Give me my water bottle.
—Not unless you come swimming.
—Did you bring the blanket? I’m going to read on the blanket.
—Only if you come swimming.
—Why do you care if I come in or not? We’re not joined at the hip.
—I don’t want to go alone. I don’t want to be alone.
—We’re all alone.
—Don’t be morbid.
—It’s true—we’re born alone and we die alone. I think someone famous said that.
—Do you know who said that?
—Really? How do you know?
—I looked it up on my phone.
—We’re at the beach and you’re on your phone. Can’t you ever turn that thing off?
—”We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.” That’s what he said.
—Orson Wells I told you. That’s where the quote comes from.
—That’s too depressing.
—You brought it up. I just wanted you to come swimming with me, and you turned it into a philosophical debate.
—Aren’t you scared to die?
—I just live my life. I go to work. I go the gym. I make dinner for myself.
—I drink too much, I worry about drinking too much, and then I think about death. Is that normal?
—No one’s normal. Do you think I need sunscreen?
—It’s not that hot out. I’m in a constant state of dissatisfaction and envy. My life didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. I had an unhappy childhood and my adulthood has been thumbs down so far. I’m mid-way through my life and I find myself in a dark forest and don’t know which path to take, so I’m just standing here looking at the trees, and the trees, well, they don’t look so good. They look kind of sick actually.
—Maybe they need water.
—Maybe they need to be something other than trees.
—It’s October, and I can’t believe I’m swimming in the lake.
—We’re pretty much all doomed.
—Just stop and come swimming with me.
—Did you like Citizen Kane?
—It’s a classic.
—I know it’s a classic but did you like it? I kind of found it boring. Actually I fell asleep during it and if someone put a gun to my head I couldn’t tell them the plot.
—It’s a classic.
—What’s good about it? What exactly did you like?
—See you just like it because everyone else does. Because it’s been named the best film of all time.
—That’s not true.
—What’s the film about and why is it so great?
—Can we just go swimming?
—You’re dodging the question.
—You’re being confrontational. I thought you and your shrink were working on that.
—I’ve decided I like who I am now—even my flaws—even my bad personality.
—There’s no helping you.
—The water is too cold. I bet you’ll freeze.
—It’s not too cold. That guy’s swimming.
—That guy has a lot of fat on him so he probably doesn’t feel the cold.
—We have a lot of fat on us. I never thought I would grow up to be a fat woman, but that’s what I am.
—Speak for yourself and besides he has more.
—Come on. Get in the water with me. It’s such a nice day. You have to go in.
—In the grand scheme of life, it doesn’t matter if I go in or not. Being here is just another moment that passes. You go in the water. I don’t go in the water. It makes no difference because we both are going to die and so is the pigeon over there for that matter. It is possible to hate a bird because I feel like I really hate that bird. Not as much as Canada geese but close.
—It’s funny. I feel like we had this same conversation when we were fifteen.
—I’m not keeping track of our conversations.
—Canada geese shit green. I’ve stepped in it before.
—I’m not stepping in green shit.
—I’m not afraid of dying. It’s the suffering that I worry about.
—Fundamentally there is something wrong with life. The whole concept. It was just a bad idea. I give life a D-.
—Okay, I’m going in.
—I’m leaving you behind.
—I’m ready for it.
—You’ll be alone and I’ll be alone.
—Yes that right, and I want to be alone.
—The illusion will be broken.
—That’s okay. I was never illuded. You were.
Kathryn Mockler is a writer, screenwriter, and poet. She is the author of three books of poetry. Her writing has been published in Public Pool, The Butter, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Lemon Hound, and Geist. Currently, she is the Toronto Editor of Joyland and Publisher of The Rusty Toque.