And so we walked. Well, Max walked really carefully while Abbie and I helped each other slip and fall.
"Max?" I asked, after slipping down a slight hill, right after watching Abbie do exactly the same thing. "What's this?
"I don't know" he said, pulling me up.
"I do" Abbie told us as I helped her to her feet. "It's the river"
I looked at the ice, covered with snow. The problem was, it looked like the top of the ice had melted, so we didn't know whether it was actually ice or not.
"She's right" I agreed.
"You sure?" he asked.
"Positive" we said together.
Max nodded. "I'll test it"
"No" I said.
"Are you crazy!? What if it's just water? What if it's not frozen at all?" I excliamed.
"Calm down, Sara. If it's water I can just climb back out"
"No" I folded my arms "You wouldn't let me do it"
"That's you. Besides, it's dangerous. I don't want you to get hurt"
"And this is you. And it is dangerous. And I don't want you to get hurt"
"That's not fair"
"How is it not fair?"
"You're not letting me protect you"
"Oh, I see. It's OK for you to worry about me, but if I worry about you it's a big problem" I turned away from him, swallowing the lump in my throat.
"Why don't we just go round it and follow it down the other side?" Abbie suggested. "I mean, look, it goes down there."
"Sure" Max said. I nodded and followed her. I slipped a few times and Max stopped me before I could fall, but neither of us said anything.
Except when I slipped, and Max was a few paces behind, and I fell right into the river. It was ice on top, not strong enough to hold me.
"Sara!" Abbie exclaimed frantically. She leant over the edge of the river and tried to grab my hand, but it was too slippery and I just kept going under. The ice was too slippery to get a grip on, and it kept breaking. Max didn't need telling before he was there to help. He reached over and grabbed my arm before I could sink under again, and he pulled me to the edge and lifted me out.
The snow against my back was like heaven compared to the freezing temperature of that water.
"Are you OK?" Max asked me, worry clouding his voice.
"So... c-c-cold" I choked out. Max took my inhaler out of my pocket, but it was full of water, so he quickly unzipped my bag and took my spare one from there. Then he gave me three puffs. I took a deep, shaky breath. "Thanks" I whispered. Max pulled me close.