She lies on the dock—back pressed firmly against the uneven wooden planks, dry hair matted against the wet edges of her hairline, heels of her sweaty feet pushed against the thick nails in the wood. Her head turns to face the lake—left cheek touching the warm wood, afraid to look up at the mid-July sun.
She imagines that at any moment, she might fall. The wood might crack and her body might drop, crashing against the water like a steel block crashes into a sheet of glass, shattering it into a million tiny pieces, falling like an astronaut would fall through an empty galaxy. Slowly. She presses her fingers against the wood, holding on, but she has nothing to grip. She can’t stop thinking that her world is a hemisphere—half of a soap bubble reflecting long stretches of blue and powdery spots of white, half of an inflatable beach ball cut open across the middle to reveal a hollow center, half of a hard-boiled egg oozing with an undercooked yolk of fat fish and stray geese and loud birds. The hemisphere widens as it approaches the center, curving as its surface meets the glistening water and the blue sky disappears into the dark lake. She imagines there must be a second half to the hemisphere—a hidden lower half that she cannot see. She wonders if it hides beneath the lake’s surface, if she will see it when she crashes through the surface and falls through the empty galaxy, if her world will turn upside down and she will eventually find the bottommost pole—cold cheek touching the hemisphere’s surface, pale toes smashed beneath her knees, back bent and cracked so that her body fits perfectly with the curves of the sphere.