“Some people swore that the house was haunted. Can you imagine?” She tossed the paper umbrella next to the AARP card. “I hope they don’t forget our discount this time.” She was scanning the pool area for a waiter.
“Um.” He murmured.
“Oh, you aren’t even listening.” She playfully scolded.
Having seen her parents old pile of bones laughingly called their summer cabin, he could in fact imagine it being haunted.
Her comment reminded him of the summer they’d met. He was a lifeguard with a brand new Red Cross card; she was thirteen, electrifying, being trained in First Aid. Instinctively he’d recognized something feral and dangerous.
“I’m lucky,” the camper had thought, as they’d marched in afternoon woods towards the lifeguard’s secret.
“That’s sick!” The kid had spat, when he’d understood the warm, intimate whispers.
In an instantly blinding rage his hands had flown to the boy’s windpipe. The child struggled desperately. It wasn’t until the camper suddenly shifted his gaze and reached out for help that he’d realized they weren’t alone. Jumping up in horror, he automatically released the boy, who lay gasping.
“I knew it!” She’d smirked. With a twisted little smile she’d told him not to let the kid get away. She’d pointed to where the camper had run into the trees.
Dazed, chocking on thick ropes of guilty bile he watched as the boy vanished.
“Get him!” She’d commanded, still pointing. “Go!”
He caught the boy, but with discovery, her watching, and his churning guts, he hadn’t enjoyed that first time.
After, they’d walked down to the lake’s edge, where she had carefully washed him, as he’d quietly wept.
“Oh, stop.” She’d soothed, and after a time he had. “You’re only upset ‘cause I caught you.”
She had been absolutely right, of course, and that had made him surprisingly happy. He felt a smile skip lightly across his face as he lay in the bright sun beside her, waiting for his next cocktail some fifty years later.
“I like you.” She had cooed, that first day by the lake, in a voice he didn’t know he’d grow old loving. Heading back to camp, as the dappled light faded, the two young gods had held hands for the first time. Nothing was ever the same again after that.
Created: May 18, 2012