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Lake Sharks

(Or… This Time It’s Personal)

This is a short story from She Tried: A Collection of Short Stories From An Unremarkable Life. A book loosely inspired by some of the silly and not-so-silly things I've experienced in mine.

I’ve stopped pretending I know things. It’s easier being dumb. If I have one regret in life it’s that I didn’t learn this lesson sooner. 

Don’t get me wrong. I like smart people. They fascinate me. If I had one main criteria for a life partner it is that they be smart. Okay… and hot. Smart and hot… and fun in bed! 

I digress. Let’s go back to the smart part. When you date smart people you get to hang out with even more smart people. Like neuroscientists who are fascinated by drugs and using their knowledge of the brain to create the perfect high. Sounds fun and a little crazy. Never something I’d think of doing, but I’m curious about people who do. I’m more of a self-medicating to be numb kinda gal. Day drinking on the dock, sign me up. A super long high that I can’t barf out of my system terrifies me. No thank you! Makes for a great story though. 

It wasn’t too surprising that when my life person (What do you call a boyfriend after an age when the term seems juvenile? Seriously! Asking for a friend.), approached me one day while at a cottage about four hours out of Toronto and asked: “We’re thinking of taking a day trip. Do you mind?”

“Oh fun, where are you going?”

He looked at me.


I looked at him, wide-eyed and expectant.

He looked back at me with an expression that asked exactly where I thought he and the guys might be going.

Smart people!

Silence and more innocence. Maybe a shoulder shrug on my end.

“We’re going on a day TRIP.”

“Ohhhh….,” that took way too long, “of course! I don’t mind as long as you don’t mind if I don’t come along.”

I went to the fridge and grabbed a beer before wandering down to the dock. Sometime way later in the day, when it appeared no one was tripping I asked him what happened.

“Greg’s wife wasn’t into it.”

“Couldn’t you and Phil still go?”

“Apparently not.”

A few more hours later and we’re all sitting around the coffee table digging into some delicious appetizers. I look up to see him looking at me strangely from across the table. 

The trip was back on. E. Not enough to really do anything though. He was disappointed. The booze got to me before the drugs got to him.

“Make sure Phil doesn’t drown. He probably shouldn’t be out in the canoe.”

“On it.”

“Love you.”

“Love you equally-minty.”

I kissed him and went to bed.

About four hours later I rolled over, in a not very awake state to find my 6’1, not-so-small boyfriend standing over me, super still, staring.




More stillness.

“Are you coming to bed?”

“I dunno.”

I tried not to laugh.


“I’m really high.”

“The E finally kicked in?”



“I took some more E and maybe some mushrooms.”

“Will you be able to sleep?”

“Not sure.”

“Wanna try?”


I shuffled over. It was a small bed. I don’t remember if he fell asleep right away or I did. We laughed about it in the morning. I was glad to see Phil made it down to breakfast. 

The banter at the table that morning was a little quieter than it had been the night before but it was engaging none-the-less.

“Hey Sammy, why are you so afraid of the lake? Is it the lake sharks?”

I opened my mouth to respond when my not-so-high-anymore boyfriend softly placed a hand on mine. 

Oh right. Of course. 

“Totally. Those freshwater sharks will get ya every time.”

Of course there weren’t lake sharks. I knew that right? Right?!!!

But in the moment, surrounded by smart people who knew how brains worked I thought… maybe… just… why couldn’t there be lake sharks? In another universe there might be. Either way, a soft touch on the hand stopped me from looking like I didn’t know things.

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