The Koi Pond

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A girl falls in love with the koi pond in her garden until a near tragic accident occurs.

Submitted: October 24, 2010

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Submitted: October 24, 2010

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Here goes my final and most likely futile attempt at making this the slightest bit formatted.

~~~I ran barefoot through the grass, trying, whenever possible, to step on the stones placed to form a path to my family’s garden. We lived in southern California which allowed us the ability to house many exotic plants. Green vines covered the fences built by my father. Colorful flowers lined the path leading through my secret garden. That is what I’ve called it for as long as I can remember. I had often visited my garden, but it’s beauty always seemed a secret to me. I wondered how anything could be so beautiful. Brilliantly colored leaves peeked through the iron fence as though their main purpose was to entice you to enter my garden and gaze in awe at it’s extravagant beauty. As children, my friends and I used to run through the garden, tracing every path. We would race to see who could complete the task in the least amount of time. I often lost, stopping every time to watch the koi in their pond located near the west corner of my garden. Such bright reds and yellows flowed as though the fish themselves were liquid moving through the water with such ease. I would spend hours upon end watching these magnificent creatures exploring their perfected world. They moved so gracefully without any harsh movements. I often wished I could be one of them.

~~~“Stay away from the edge of the pond, Charlotte. I don’t want you falling in and ruining your clothes.” my mother had often warned me. She was so worried that one day I would fall in while looking over the edge of the pond. Until my ninth birthday I had always obeyed her wishes, but this year, things were different. I’d wanted a closer view of the creatures I’d so envied and I wasn’t about to deny myself that wish. I stepped over the short fence put up to tell me how close was too close and sat down on a sloped rock. The smooth surface felt cool against the backs of my knees. I removed my sandals and stuck a toe in the water to test it’s temperature. The cool water soothed my bare feet. I moves my legs in the water very slowly as to not scare the fish away. One particularly curious fish swam in circles around my legs. Shivers were sent up and down my spine as the gentle tail of the beautiful koi brushed against the back of my legs. I heard my mother calling me into the house for lunch and quickly removed my legs from the water, running back to the house. I snuck upstairs to dry my legs off with a shirt laying next to my bed and ran back downstairs. I’d never before felt so daring in my life.

~~~After my first experience with being so close to the koi fish, I decided to go back day after day and dip my feet into the pond. Sometimes I brought a book along, or some old cereal to feed the fish. After I was done reading or feeding the koi, I’d explore my garden some more. It really was a masterpiece; along each path a new surprise could be found. My family had hung a number of bird houses along the hedges of my garden, and many sculptures were placed throughout the many rooms. My favorite room aside of the obvious koi pond room happened to be the spot with a small iron bench and a glass roof covering the top of the hedges. When it was sunny, the light shone through the glass, creating rainbow colored lights on the vegetation. When it was raining, the roof provided shelter from the wetness. I remember one time years ago when I decided to bring a pillow and blanket and sleep on the bench of this room. The night sky was beautiful. Although I’d promised to stay in the room, I had to sneak out and see my koi. They were not mine, nor was the garden, but my family never showed as much of a love for them as I did.

~~~I crept past the vines which had such an eerie appearance at night with the wind blowing. I felt as though they were about to reach out and grab me. I moved faster in the direction of the koi pond. Lights lit up the area, startling me. I hadn’t known of the motion sensors prior to this night. The koi moved faster as though startled. I felt bad for having woke them up, but still did not hesitate to let my feet explore the pond. This night had been particularly warm, so I took a rather large risk in lowering myself into the pond. The cold water made me shiver. I reluctantly let go of my tight grip on the rock. All the fish swam away. I tried to catch one with my bare hands but soon realized that the water was deeper than I had thought. I gasped for air just before my head sunk under the water. The wall of the pond was slippery, and I couldn’t reach the rock to grab onto. For a few seconds I was sure I’d drown, precisely the fate my mother had warned against. Not willing to give my life, I pushed myself toward the surface of the water which allowed me to grasp the rock with one finger. I pulled myself up to the surface and climbed out of the water. Relieved that I hadn’t lost my life, I ran back to the room I’d be sleeping in. ~~~I’d never before come so close to death. For years after the incident I’d purposefully avoid the koi pond whenever I’d visit the garden. My mom seemed suspicious but had never asked me why I’d lost my interest in the fish so suddenly. Koi were supposed to be the symbol for good luck but for years to come they had brought me only fear and tragedy. Exactly two years ago today I revisited my koi pond. Not much had changed since the day I’d fallen in. There were new flowers surrounding the pond and the fish seemed different but the rock I’d once grasped for life remained in the same place. I decided that after so many years that my fear was completely irrational. I crept over the small fence, lifted the hem of my skirt, sat down on my rock, and dipped my feet into the cool water. The feeling of calmness fell over me once again and I remembered why I had so loved this place.


© Copyright 2018 Zoe Noelle. All rights reserved.

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