Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Short Story for Summer's End

The Perfect Summer Day, A Long Time Ago
Written by Elisabeth Zguta

It was an impulsive thing to do.  I was just hanging around with nothing going on.  It was warm for morning, so a hot summer day was a promise.  Then the phone rang.  It was a call from an unexpected  person.  We had a mutual friend who suggested that we meet.  “Yes a trip to the lake house is perfect today.”

We drove through the country roads unsure of ourselves.  I fiddled with my hair and he tried to keep his eyes peered straight ahead on the road.  I barely knew this person, but for some reason I felt as if I did know him somehow.  I just didn’t know his history.  We talked.  The more we said the more we had to say.  The conversion went from clumsy to familiar.  Finally a smile crossed his face.  I didn’t expect it to move me quite the way it did…it was shining somehow.  His blue eyes started to smile too.  That was the difference; the clouds were finally cast away from his eyes.  They had been covering his true self from my prying vision.

The lake house was small and cozy.  We sat in wooden chairs on the porch, which overlooks the pond.  We watched the birds as they crossed the sky above the reflective glass surface of the lake.  It was mesmerizing.  His older sister was there too.  She was friendly and didn’t ask too many questions, but I could see she gave me sideways glances with some kind of meaning behind the stare.  I didn’t know his history yet, so the look went right over my head.  We grabbed a beer after his sister stopped fussing.  The cool draft from the bottle helped ease what was left of our edge.  We laughed some more.  Now as I reflect on that day, that is what I remember the most – the laughing.  It felt so good to be free and just let go of all the tension, to just laugh.

It was getting hot as the afternoon sun filled the sky with bright beams of heated light.  We decided to swim and cool off.  That was a high point in the day for me because I love to swim.  So we walked out into the lake side by side.  On our toes we slowly let the cold water shock our outside skin until we were numbed.  Finally the tingles completed their purpose and I was able to appreciate the complete coolness the lake offered.  I swam out a little ways and back again.  He stood there watching with a faraway look in his stare.  I felt compelled to move forward, to see why he had gone somewhere else in his thoughts.  "Wasn’t the here and now good enough for him?" I thought.
As I moved in closer, he came back from the closet in his mind.  His smile found its way back again and reached his eyes.  “Are you happy?”  I ask innocently.  “Yes” he said simply.  Then he swam out and back to me.  We gabbed about the swimming, the water temperature, the sunshine, and probably many other simple unnecessary things. 

Then shock as he reached out to me.  I thought he might kiss me.  Instead he grabbed me, picked me up into the air and threw me into the water.  Dunked!  I was dunked!

When I came up for air all I could do was laugh.  I laughed so loud all the woods were alive.  I tried to retaliate.  Again he dunked me!  I tried again, and this time he let me dunk him.  I know this because he told me he let me.  Isn’t that what they all say?  Looking back he probably did let me.  I was a small girl and not very strong.  We had fun the rest of the afternoon.  Splashing and laughing.

I didn’t want the day to end, but of course it did.  After so much laughter and fun we headed for home.  I felt so close to him.  We spoke about our mutual friends and things that happened to us.  He told me of a time he was sitting on a swing in a schoolyard.  As he sat brooding, BB King’s car stopped.  They needed directions.  The great man sitting in the back seat noticed he was glum.  He left his comfortable seat and walked over to him, the lonely boy.  BB gave him some advice before he headed to his show. 

Sharing that memory with me seemed to make him smile, though his thoughts were distant.  It was a fond memory for him, but it made me wonder.  Then I asked.  “Why were you so sad when BB King, the king of soul, noticed?”

Then I knew in my heart he did trust me, because he told me his story, his history.  He had lost someone very close.  She was his first love, the one he considered his soul mate.  He was mourning her and dwelling on his loss that day.  He was contemplating suicide.  When BB drove up and said his kind words it gave him pause.  Those words and his reaching out to him, made him realize he needed to stay connected to life.  To this day he still has been searching for a way to feel alive and find happiness again.  Then he looked at me and said “Thank you for being happy with me today.” 
I remember that day of laughing, only because I was able to share it with him, a true friend.

I hope eveyone has lots of happy memories from this summer.  Enjoy these songs and have a great new school year all you students and parents.

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