Lake House Dream

by Tracey on July 18th, 2015

Sunlight poured in the open windows of our cozy old lake house as Luciana bustled about the kitchen. She was humming some haunted melody and her beautiful voice filled the house. Wearing a bright yellow flowered dress, she brought cantaloupe, fresh berries and homemade donuts from a local farm to the breakfast table. Gowan sipped coffee on the porch in a white wicker chair and read news on his Nook. Liam, the lanky older brother, hovered around the table and after shoving a whole donut into his mouth, ran upstairs to put his bathing suit on.

After breakfast, Luciana massaged sun block into her daughter Orhianna’s back in preparation to be out on the boat all day. Birds chirped in the trees, and a pair of ducks paddled around near the edge of the water. The relaxing rhythm of the water lapping lightly against the mossy retaining wall conjured memories of long summers at the lake house and simpler times. It was peaceful. And here, we could be ourselves.

Liam emerged smiling from the side of the house, carrying the new O’Brian slalom ski and an inner tube. He carried the gear out on the dock while  his dad, Gowan, lowered the boat into the water. The sound of the boat lift clicking echoed off the quiet, glassy lake, which mirrored the pale blue sky in reflection.

Dad hopped into the driver’s seat of the boat, and Mom sat right behind him with a pile of clean towels, and Liam took his place right up front, facing forward and holding on to the inner tube to keep it from flying off. Orhianna joined them and smiled. That was just the way she wanted to remember them.

The water on the lake was so smooth as they motored out away from the house, that Orhianna could see the sandy bottom flecked with stones and shells. Occasional lake weeds hid schools of minnows that darted away from the shadow of the boat. The air was warm already, promising a beautiful day ahead. She looked back at the rickety old house. It had been in the family for nearly eighty years, belonging first to her great grandmother, then passed on to her children, and finally to Luciana and her sisters.

Dad hit the accelerator and the boat took off. They made their way to the north shore of the lake, the water grew choppier.  When he reached the destination, Dad cut the engine, and the boat drifted, rocking with the waves. Dad asked, “Who’s up first?”

Liam jumped up and pulled on his ski vest. “Me. The water looks awesome.”

The water wasn’t like glass anymore though, it was choppy. The waves were growing in size and number as the wind picked up it whipped Orhianna’s long auburn hair into her eyes and mouth. The boat began to rock back and forth with the waves. Liam jumped in the roiling water, and Dad threw him the ski. “Head’s up!”

The sky was suddenly black with storm clouds and the waves grew higher and higher, cresting over the edge of the Ski Nautique. Orhianna was getting wet and cold, yet her Dad and Mom acted like nothing was wrong. Mom threw out the ski rope to Liam, who bobbed up and down in between the waves.  What was wrong with them, Orhianna thought. Didn’t they notice? She worried that it wasn’t safe, but being the youngest, didn’t have confidence to tell them that what they were doing was dangerous.

Dad revved up the boat engine again and when the rope was taut and Liam was in tow, he yelled, “Hit it!” at the top of his lungs.

They watched Liam bobbing up and down behind the boat, so when Dad punched the accelerator, none of them saw what was coming. The boat launched forward right into a huge wave. There was no time for panic, or even for fear. The wave was so large that it swallowed the whole boat, washing Orhianna and her family from it. She swam, but was tossed around by the wave and had difficulty finding her way to the surface again. When she finally found air again, she gasped for breath.

Orhianna looked around for the boat and for her parents. They were gone. “Mom! Dad!” She cried out.

“Orhianna!” Liam was swimming nearby.

Waves tossed the two about like toys in a tub. Everything else was gone.

Orhianna’s brother looked her in the eye. “We’re going to swim for shore, O. We can make it. We can do this without them.”

She wanted to trust her brother, he was all she had left.

“Take my hand, O.” He said.

Orhianna reached out to take his hand, and Liam tossed his head back and laughed maniacally. Then he lifted a handful of snakes out of the water.  *****


© 2015

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