Funny, she didn’t remember driving here….but here she was, having walked the only clear path to the entrance of the lakeside cottage, her frigid winter breaths staccato beats on the peeling red of the front door (she knew no one would answer), she trembled slightly turning the unlocked door handle.
Grey, weathered, mirror image of her self, the cedar board structure had become more hillside, less lakeside, settling and bending under the weight of time, life’s toll exacted, the surrounding trees pillowed and supported it, much like the curve of a mother’s arms protecting her frightened child.
Memories burst through the front door along side her and flooded the great room with nostalgia thicker than the years of accumulated dust that clung to the furniture covers, clouding her eyes even more than the recently diagnosed glaucoma; yet she felt as if her vision had never been clearer than at this very moment.
She wandered the cottage, moving leisurely from room to room smiling, she silently (for the most part) narrated while her mind’s movie projector replayed the take up reel, a sentimental showing of more years than not spent with the man who built this house for her, the man who never left her side, until death paid him a visit, stealing him before his time, before her time; she stopped smiling.
Leaning against the cold of the kitchen’s vintage, porcelain sink, she gazed out the window at a snow dusted still life, brush strokes of brown bark, intermittent pine needle green, the distant iced blue of the lake reflecting bits of shimmering mid-January sun, as beautiful a view now as it was 40 years ago; she turned toward the great room, the rocker by the sliding glass patio doors beckoning, and realized she needed to sit a while, close her eyes, rest and release some of the emotion of the day.
Funny, she didn’t remember waking up from her nap, let alone leaving the cottage, yet here she was, running down the branch strewn back path towards the dock with the agility of a 20 year old; so taken with this miraculous feeling, she hadn’t noticed the young man standing at the water’s edge; finally, their eyes met and he waited until she fell into his arms, their laughter echoing, wind whispering through the pines, we’re home.