It was a Thursday, I remember that specifically. I’m not sure why I do, but I do. It’s not even that important, but I place a lot of importance upon it. Does that make sense? I don’t think it does. I think I’m just telling you unnecessary detail to stop myself thinking of what happened. Of what I did, and what it meant.
I remember sitting by the water, looking out. It was hot. The sun was beating onto my head, and for a while I just lay still in the grass. There wasn’t a soul around. I was at peace with myself, with my surroundings. I suppose I was happy. It’s strange to think about being happy back then. I mean, I’m happy now too, but it’s different. Back then I probably didn’t recognise my happiness in the way I do now. I thought I was sad, but I don’t know that I was. Anyway.
The waters were calm, perfect even. I could have stared across them forever. I remember feeling like I had been. It was so… settled. It was like I’d found the place I’d always dreamt of. Like lying on the bank was all I’d ever needed. The silent calm of the water soothed me. And I knew that the water itself was just the surface. Beneath, there was a whole world. Everything in its place, everything exactly as it should be. In some ways the water mirrored me. It was at peace, and everything was right.
As I sat on the bank, my hands wandered through the grass and the reeds. I can still remember the sensation against my skin. I was alive. The grass was so soft, and with every stroke of my hand the sweet, fresh aroma wafted toward me. It was electric.
And that’s when I saw it. It was just a pebble, but it was perfect. Smooth and pale. I knew it had probably been touched before, but I felt like I was discovering new land. As though my eyes were the first that had ever seen it for what it was. As if my fingers were the first to caress its edges. It was the embodiment of temptation.
The day may have been perfect, and the water unspoiled, but I just had to. It was just a pebble, a perfect pebble, but just a pebble. What would it hurt? The water would calm eventually. Everything would return to the way it should be. No-one would ever know what had happened. Nobody was around. It would be my secret.
I felt the weight of it in my hand. I rolled it between my fingers. It had a certain coldness to it, despite the heat of the day. I knew what was to happen next, and my heart began to race. The excitement, the deviance, the destruction.
Before I knew it, that beautiful pebble soared through the hot oxygen, diving toward the water. It was exhilarating. I watched it leave the tips of my fingers, and couldn’t take my eyes off it all the way to the water. I saw it carve through that perfect stillness. I heard the nose it made as it crashed into the world beneath. It was deafening; the first sound of the day. I saw the water fly into the air, crashing back down everywhere. I saw the ripples, the water forced away from its perfect resting place. It was stunning.
And yet, it was over almost before it began. The waters calmed, and the day returned to tranquillity. Everything went back to the way it should be. It was calm; it was still; it was perfect. The pebble was gone. Never to be seen again. Like a moment in time experienced too quickly.
But what had I done?
I had thought that the pebble and the carnage it would momentarily cause would be just for me; my secret; my temptress. But a thought crossed my mind. The pebble was in the water now. The surface may have returned to the way it was before, but the pebble would always be beneath. The world beneath had changed. The landscape different, the ecosystem smashed.
No matter how much I might have wanted to extract it, it was impossible. It was like trying to forget a memory. It can’t be done. You might not think about it often, but it’s always there. Just biding its time. Waiting. Waiting.
So I sat. I sat by the waters’ edge thinking. I looked at the water, and how perfect it had returned to being. I lay back in the grass, and the sun beat down on my head. It was wonderful. I allowed my mind to go clear, and everything was right in the world. But deep down, I knew. I knew that I had changed everything, and nothing would be the same again.