Light upon the deep and primitive inquiry of the human heart is the primary contribution, then, of literature.
— Pearl S. Buck
Anika’s gaze tracked two Mallards flying across the lake.
Her husband was grilling dinner, her kids chasing a lizard.
The peacefulness of summer recentered her, clearing cobwebs of thoughts accumulated in the long nights of winter.
One arm held to her belly, its hand cradling an elbow from which a hand propped up her chin.
She scratched her neck, subconsciously aware of the dangers of mosquito-borne viruses.
Nothing scared her out here, here in her private world, here with her family, an hour-and-a-half away from town, away from jobs, mortgage payments and turbulent relationships.
She pulled her mouth to one side, half grinning.
Her new job was frustrating.
She wanted to exercise her engineering skills but she and her team leader were stuck, mired in the muck of organisation charts tied to government bureaucracy, like trying to swim upstream through a river of molasses in winter.
Three months to get a computer login, given generic instructions by her boss to spend the extra time being productive, whatever that meant.
Then, after getting a login, unable to write code because she had not received official workplace training on the programming language in which she specialised at university.
She wrote test scripts in a computer scratchpad.
Assigned to a new team leader because of her lack of progress keeping up with code production goals not shown to her because it was “need to know” only by her boss’ boss, Anika was handed an engineering notebook and told to take notes at meetings for the foreseeable future.
How could she meet code production goals if she wasn’t allowed to program?
She stood up from the bench on the boat dock, watching concentric waves fan out from the wooden posts on which the dock floated.
Water bugs skitted over the waves.
A few fish swam deeper into the dock shadows.
A spider nabbed a crane fly under the dock.
She lifted her head in the air and breathed deeply, taking in the delicious aroma of her husband’s cooking skills.
She yelled at the kids to get the dinner table ready as she walked up the yard from the lake to their summer lakehouse.
In general, she was happy.
After all, she was a realist, not a dreamer.
She believed in fact, not fantasy, although she was just as much into cosplay as her husband and children.
She greeted her husband with a kiss and opened the screen door of the back porch.
No need to think about work.
It was just Saturday night, they still had most of Sunday to enjoy their weekend holiday at the lake before returning to the reality of the reality of the city.