She got pushed into the lake and she just kept sinking.
She kicked, she cupped her hands and pulled her arms in an arc, pushing water past her waist, but she sank. She sank like lead, like brick, like treasure. Until her feet hit the bottom.
She pushed off the rocks but she went nowhere. Unable to hold her breath any longer, her mouth opened in an involuntary gasp. Water rushed past her tongue and into her lungs but she didn’t drown. She took a step and was able to walk. Past an old tire, a boulder, a pile of concrete bricks, she saw people. People just like her.
“You found us!” a man said.
How was she supposed to answer? She shrugged her shoulders.
“Use your words, miss!”
“Wha… what?” It was just like on the surface. “Was I supposed to find you?”
“Well it would have been lonely down here all on your own!” the man bellowed.
He took her into a town that looked just like every other town. He introduced her to people that were just like everyone else she met. Everything was the same.
She carried on like she did before. She went to store, read the same books, took walks, and met a man. She cooked the same and ate the same. It was all the same.
Except the haze.
It must have been the water reflecting light, she thought. Maybe it was pollution or sand or rocks or a million other excuses. But it wasn’t. It was the haze of something different.
She could do and achieve and talk and work just like before. But it wasn’t like before. There were different people. There were different buildings. And the sun was much less bright.
She looked around at a life that wasn’t hers. A life that happened with a push. A life she could not swim out of.
She pushed off the bottom harder than before but nothing happened. She kicked and swam and tried climbing up the tallest rocks but she just sank back down.
And then she went back to her house. And she worked each day like she did before. And she cooked as she did before. And she bathed and talked and danced and loved as she did before.
Many years later she was dieing.
“Are you happy?” her daughter asked?
The woman looked up at her daughter, surrounded by the same haze that followed her her whole time in her underwater life.
“No, honey. Not at all.”