Messages From Across The Lake • 2
Here is part 1, if you missed it:
The school year had been challenging for Bethany. Her workload had increased, and Bethany had not thought much about Daniel since Christmas break. But as summer approached, the model sailboat sitting on a shelf in her room started regaining its power.
Bethany imagined the correspondence she would have with Daniel during their week at the lake. She knew it was silly, but Bethany couldn’t help imagining Daniel as handsome. And that he would fall for her witty messages. Bethany had written hundreds of them during the fall. As she read through them, she threw away the ones that sounded too forward. She needed to keep it friendly. For all she knew, he could be a jerk like her brother. But in her heart, she doubted it.
Finally, July rolled around, and Bethany was the first one packed and ready to go.
“Well, this is a surprise,” Bethany’s mother said. “Is it Daniel?”
“Mom. Stop. I haven’t even met him.”
“Not in person. But you have connected.”
“It’s just a little bit of fun.”
“Remember that. Don’t get your hopes up too high, Sweetie.”
She did. What is life without hopes and dreams?
As soon as the family arrived at the cabin, Bethany threw her suitcase on the bed, opened it, and took out the sailboat. She already had the first message tied to the mast. Not waiting to unpack, Bethany ran out the back door and down to the lake, where she launched her tiny sailboat, along with her hopes.
On the opposite side of the lake, an almost 16-year-old named Daniel was sitting on his dock. With a pair of binoculars, he was scanning the lake for the small white sail. Sometime that afternoon, Daniel spotted it. He followed it until it reached the shore. Quickly, he grabbed the ship and opened the note.
I hope you get this message. I have been looking forward to sending messages again all winter. Last summer was fun. We are almost the same age. I am four months younger.
Daniel smiled and carried the sailboat back to his cabin. He walked up to his Dad and showed him the message.
“She sounds nice,” Daniel’s father, Brian said.
“Yeah. I’ve been thinking. When we get back home, can you help me do something?”
“Sure. What is it?”
Daniel told him his idea. Things had been cool between Daniel and his father since Daniel’s mother died two years previously. They both missed her and didn’t know how to express it, or reach out to each other. This might be a way to connect, Brian thought.
The following morning, Bethany found the sailboat on her side of the lake. She sat on the grass and eagerly opened the note.
I also enjoyed sending messages across the lake last summer. Where do you go to school? I go to East Valley High School. My favorite class is history. Weird, I know. But it transports me to another time when I read it. What do you like?
Bethany laughed out loud. It was a laugh of pure joy. A boy who likes history? Daniel was turning out to be quite a surprise. She ran back to her cabin to write her reply.
I go to West Oak High School. I like most of my classes. Including history! I like choir best. I love to sing. What singers or bands do you like? I love Linda Ronstadt. Do you have brothers or sisters? I have a younger brother. He’s a brat.
And so the week went. Bethany and Daniel exchanged messages and got to know each other better with each note. Then far too quickly, the week was over.
As Bethany and her family were pulling away from the cabin, Bethany let out a blood-curdling yell.
Her father slammed on the brakes, and her mother said, “What’s wrong?”
“I’m such an idiot. I should have given Daniel my address so he could write.”
“You’re an idiot, alright,” her brother said.
“Don’t ever yell like that while I’m driving, unless you are dying,” her father said.
“You nearly gave me a heart attack. Your father is right. No yelling unless it’s life and death,” her mother added.
“It is,” Bethany said.
“Hardly. Don’t worry. Daniel will be there next summer,” her mother said.
Bethany hoped so. But right now, she felt like crying.
Read the conclusion here: