The Diving Rock

Gather round, everyone. Only read and you shall be saddened by this, a tragedy like many before it, a story of life, love, and death. John was a happy young man, of ready wit and gifted with excellent genes. He was lucky enough to be born to wealthy parents in a modest suburb of Winnipeg. His father, also named John, had done well by starting a garment company that supplied Canadian troops with combat uniforms during the first world war. Once the war was over, he sold the company and lived comfortably by investing prudently in tobacco firms and other, less savoury, overseas investments. The sole luxury that he afforded to himself and his young, not yet pregnant wife, was a fabulous house overlooking Lake Winnipeg in the idyllic community of Victoria Beach. They spent many happy months there and, in the fullness of time, young John came to complete their lives. The child was a joy to his doting mother and father, trophies and achievements dripping from him to form pools of success. Women, both young and old, would follow him everywhere, hoping to attract the eye of such an eligible bachelor. Their efforts, however, went unnoticed. John had eyes, and heart, only for Jane. Jane's life, until she met John, was not a happy one. This might have been one of the attractions for the pair, that is, their utterly different paths through the maze of childhood. Where his parents were well off, hers scrabbled to stay sane while living in poverty and destitution. Where he succeeded at all he touched, she could not but fail. Their romance was an enormous scandal for John's parents, and Jane's parents could not help but be suspicious of his motives. Nonetheless, the two somehow managed to ignore everything but each other, and often went out in the evening to dance, or swim, or learn anew what wonders could be found in the world. On a hot night in July, in nineteen thirty six, John and Jane danced their last step and went outside to cool down from the stifling press of bodies still dancing their cares away. They decided, it being a night of such accursed heat, to gather some friends and go for a swim in the nearby lake. They soon made a collection of people, and left, some on foot and some by bicycle, for Scott's Point, so named for an early settler of Victoria Beach. The women hiked up their skirts and waded in, splashing each other and laughing with youthful vigor. The men, not as constrained by custom, stripped down to their shorts and swam out to a flat rock about twenty five yards away from shore. There they took turns diving, in the hopes of impressing upon a young lady their athletic prowess. When John's turn came up, everyone applauded a fantastic entry, almost no splash and a good distance away from the rock. Their applause quieted, and they waited for John to come up so that they might properly shower him with compliments. When it became clear that he was not going to come up, the rest of the young men searched the lake floor while a silence fell on the formerly rambunctious crowd. Jane, no stranger to sadness, curled up on the sand and wept. After a brief period of swimming, coming up for air, and swimming back down, John's body was recovered and pulled in to shore. Upon seeing her beloved, his broken spine, blue lips, and bulging eyes, Jane cried out in pain. She tore away from her friends and ran, cutting her calloused feet, until she reached the height of Scott's Point. Deaf to the cries of her friends, Jane threw herself at death, to join with John, who was her only happiness in life.