The full moon shown brightly over the lake, illuminating the mountains on the opposite side.
As he gazed upon the moon’s image reflected in the calm waters of the lake, Mark reflected upon his own life. It was just over a year ago that his wife of thirty years passed away. Both of his grown kids, Grace and Jonathan, were living out of state and busy with their own families. And just four months ago, Mark got laid off.
Neither of his kids had come to visit him over the holidays; he had spent Christmas alone and lonely. It would be so easy, he thought, to just start walking into the lake, taking one step at a time until the cold water consumed him. No one would miss him, of that he was sure.
And so he removed his shoes and socks and took his first steps into the dark water, creating a series of ripples that caused the moon’s reflection to sparkle like a million little stars. He’d walked about twenty paces and the cold water was barely beyond mid-calf. But Mark knew that it wouldn’t be long before the lake waters would engulf him.
As the water reached waist level, Mark heard a frantic voice calling his name. He turned around to see a woman, arms flailing, running into the water. “Dad! Dad!” he heard her scream.
Recognizing his daughter, Mark yelled, “Wait, Grace, I’m coming to you!” He ran back through the water as fast as he could until he reached her. She threw her arms around him and held him tight to her.
“Dad, what the hell were you doing? We need to get back to the house and dry you off.” Then she pulled her cell phone from her jeans pocket and called her brother. “Jonathan, I found Dad. Get the fire going. We’ll be there in a few minutes.”
“Jonathan’s here, too?” Mark asked. “I didn’t think either of you were going to make it here.”
“Dad, of course we were going to be here for Christmas,” Grace said. “But because of the blizzard back east, our flights were delayed by two days. We tried calling, but you didn’t answer your phone.” Then she paused. “Dad, what’s going on? What were you thinking back there.”
“Grace, forgive me,” Mark said. “With your mother gone, me losing my job, and then, with Christmas and not hearing from you and Jonathan….”
“Dad, I know,” Grace said. “But we’re all here now. Everyone is waiting for us back at the house, including all of your grandchildren. We all love you and wanted to be here with you for the holidays.”
Right before they got to the back door of the house, Mark stopped, hugged his daughter, and with tears running down his cheeks and with his voice cracking, he said to her, “You literally are a saving Grace.”
Written for today’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.