They’re easy, these families on the lake, laughing and holding hands. They’re not put off by the creeping cloud coverage, and inconvenience of the first droplets of impending rain. Moms in white, linen skirts which breezily beckon the oncoming storm. Dads shield the assortments of casseroles and salads leisurely.
Are they not concerned the weather’s changing? From this distance I cannot see if their brows are furrowed, or if their foreheads are folded with the lasting lines of years of worry. Somehow, I do not believe that they are. I do not imagine their hands are dry, or rough or calloused. The moms’ eyes are not dull as if she cried herself to sleep the night before. They even appear as if they might bruise easily.
Rain falls harder on my parked car, and I fidget from my seat, adjusting, peering through branches to see what they might do next like a caged animal, desperate and nostalgic for that which is beyond its grasp.
My mind twists and turns each expression they give into an enlightening tell, each mundane moment into a profound proverb. What is it, this elusive, intangible aura that invisibly antagonizes me? How can it be real? Even the Canadian geese have slipped from the downpour to their tucked away nests. I cannot help but wonder if it is a farce. I pick through my worst memories and match them to their faces to see if they could ever fit. Could they be pretending, could happiness ever look so natural and casual and so, so easy? Does everyone feel as I do but only do a better job at hiding it? I watch them and wonder if everyone I’ve ever watched feels alone together, if we have hurt the same hurts and are all each on the outside longing for everyone else’s in. Where are their scars, and sneers, anxious hands and slumped shoulders? Somehow, I feel it isn’t so. They do not carry themselves like every name they’ve ever been called. Every movement they make is a reminder of what I will never have; a mockery of something I do not deserve.
Moms pack the plastic containers into homemade blankets while the children play in puddles and dads rope up bicycles and bring the cars around. They may be leaving, but they seem as though they do not even know it’s raining.


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