It was a lazy day in late July. It had become evening, and it was very still on the lake. Not even a ripple showed. The quiet chitter and chirps of the wildlife could be heard on the edges of the shore, hidden by thick and luscious bushes and trees, their leaves a dark, healthy green.
The sun had lowered so that it touched the lake. The lake cooled the sun, and the color became a deep red.
The boy and the girl sat in the rowboat as it gently swayed slightly from right to left.
Although, boy and girl perhaps aren’t the right terms. Almost a man and not quite yet a woman may be a better fit.
He was a handsome young man. His hair was a brownish-blonde. He had always had a round face, but he had finally grown into it. And the small freckles on his face only added to his charm.
She was a stunning beauty. She had long dark hair, nearly down to her waist, which she had always taken very good care of. She had always been a girly girl, in love with cute pink dresses and pretty jewelry.
The boy sighed slightly. It was obvious that he was trying very hard to be considerate of her. Although he didn’t particularly enjoy sitting in the middle of the lake without much to do, he cared enough for her to allow himself to be still, if just for a few moments.
Her gaze was on the water. Her eyes held themselves there, observing the mirror-like surface reflecting everything perfectly, so perfect that it would be hard to tell the original from the reflection. Then she slowly turned towards the young man, and her mouth curved upwards in a gentle smile.
“So. What are you thinking about?”
Not wanting to expose his impatience, or his boredom, he attempted an answer.
“I was just looking at the sun. Or, you know, around the sun, since it’s dangerous to look right at it.”
She seemed to accept his answer, even knowing it wasn’t genuine, and went on, “It’s so pretty. I just love it out on the lake around this time. Everything’s so quiet and peaceful. It gives you a little bit of space to think.”
He held a smile on his face, and gave a little nod.
Then he asked, “So, you’ll be out of high school next year. What are you thinking about doing after that?”
And it seemed like her smile left her face, even if just a little.
“Well. I’m not sure. You know I have my dance classes. And I think I might be able to get a few offers from some schools. But – I don’t know. I’m just not sure it’s going to work out. And then what do I do?”
“I know what you mean,” he replied. “It’s always a challenge. It’s almost like you need to decide between what you want to do, and what you need to do. Fortunately for me, I’ve always liked to tinker with things. You know, I’ve always been into electronics, gadgets – anything that moves. I like to know how things work. So it was natural to go to school for engineering. And I’m glad I did.”
“Yea, it was a pretty simple decision for you. But for me, I need to make some hard decisions. I can go for dance, or I can do something with a little more of a guarantee. Maybe business or something.”
He looked at her fondly, smiling. “You’re only sixteen. You don’t need to decide everything now.”
“I know. But, it’s a big decision. Once you’re out of school, you have to pick a college, and then pick a major, and then you might even move away from your family. It’s all a little bit scary.”
“Oh, come on,” he replied. “You’ll always have people who care about you, and people who love you.”
Her eyes lifted a little to meet his. “I know. I always have people who will love me. I’m so glad for that.”
He kept his eyes on her. “You know I’ll always love you, right?”
She gave him a shake of her head, letting him know that he didn’t need to remind her nearly as often as he did. “Of course I know. And you know I love you.”
“Uh, duh. You say it to me every day.”
She giggled a little, but wasn’t irritated with his comment in the least. “Well, at least you know.”
There was a moment of silence. The wind blew just enough so the two could hear the rustle of the leaves of the trees close to shore. It was a quiet serenade, just for the two of them.
“What about you? You’ll be done with college soon,” she asked after a moment.
“I’m not really sure.”
“Well, whatever you do, I’m sure you’ll be great at it.”
Chuckling, he replied, “Hah, thanks. I’m definitely a little nervous.”
They both sighed, knowing the burden that lay on their shoulders.
All at once, they heard a splish, followed by an accompanying splash. Bright scales glistened in the sunlight, as the light danced along the sparkling fish.
“Did you see that!”, said the boy, genuinely excited.
“No!”, she replied. “Let’s see if we can find it.”
They both giggled as the boy rowed towards the ripples in the water.
They spent the next few minutes looking into the deep waters, searching for their new friend. The boy continued rowing slowly around the lake, calling out faint noises or ripples he could have sworn he’d seen in the water. The girl, although not quite as interested as him, cooperated perfectly, happy to continue the search, only because she could see how much fun he was having.
At last, having no luck, they broke off the search.
“I think he’s gone,” she sighed.
“Man, I thought we would’ve found him”, he replied, slightly frustrated.
“It doesn’t matter. It was fun. We had a memory.”
The boy sighed. “I guess you’re right.”
“Here, let’s take a picture”, and without waiting for a reply, she grabbed him and snapped the picture with her phone.
And they heard a familiar voice call out to them. “Kids! Come on! Dinner’s ready.”
“Come on, Nathan, mom made her beef roast tonight! Yummm!”
They pulled up to shore, and he held his hand out towards her. She accepted it and allowed herself to be gracefully lifted out of the boat.
And as they went in towards the house, a little boy, only eleven years old, ran out the door to greet them, grinning from ear to ear.
“Guys! I was so bored waiting for you! Play with me. Pleeeeease!”. Emmy gave him a big hug. “Of course we can play, my little Jesse bear.” She grabbed his hand and the three walked into the cottage.
Inside, their father was relaxing on the couch. Emmy was the first one inside. “Daddy!”, she shouted, laughing. “I missed you!”
“Emmy!”, her father said, as his mouth quickly contorted itself into a giant smile. “You’ve only been gone for twenty minutes, you silly thing.”
“I know,” she laughed. “But I still missed you.”
“How is it, my beautiful girl, that every time I see you, you’re even prettier than before?”
And she blushed, gave him another hug, and ran to the dinner table.