Lake House

One day I will drive up to the lake house in the dead of night.
By myself. All alone. And I will feel the way the dark encompasses the car, and the glow of the radio.
Music will play, something both raw and quiet. The lights on the Skyway whip past at an alarming speed, but I've found Indiana's police to be quite forgiving when it comes to speed.

The first time I heard that the freeway that separated me from the lake was called the Skyway, I was enchanted. Then I realized that it was just a road.
However, the name never lost it's magic.

Past the gas station that lets me know it's only half an hour from here.
Through the town that shuts down at nine.
The little wooden shack where they sell worms for fishers, the paint chipping off the sign out front.

"Welcome to Lake Isabella" the sign reads. My heart is up in my throat, and it's all I can do to not cry.

Into the circular driveway, the very place I learned to ride a bike, then later, to skateboard.
Floodlights leap on, startling me. Turn the car off with shaky hands. Lean against the headrest. Let a long breath out. My phone tells me it's four am.

Slowly leave the car with just my overnighter. The tears are coming in a steady flow by now, as I walk the steps up to the kitchen door. The smell of the dew laced wood is something familiar. It brings on nostalgia so deep it's like a reverie. The door, and how it tries to slam your ankles. And I'm home.


The tacky green carpet that screams 90's. The walls painted in warmth. That scent of lake water, good food, and those little plug in air fresheners that stay in my clothes for months.

Collapse on my bed. My room is right off the front door. Wake up at eleven, which is actually ten back where I live.

Sit at the table in the kitchen with a mug of warm coffee. Forgot to bring my own, and so it's Folgers instead of Starbucks. My grandparents aren't coffee snobs.
Tap my fingers across the table. Remembering all those years ago when Kevin and I were strapped into our respective booster chairs, flinging food at the floor.
Steam from my coffee. Eyes close. Then open sharply.
Run back to my room, where the walls are blue and I have a little shelve of books I've torn through.
Knees sink to the carpet, soft though old.
Reach underneath the bed, pulling out a translucent blue Rubbermaid container of paints and charcoals. Water colors that I've done years ago, sitting at the table listening to piano music in the back ground.

Walk across the house past the octagonal window, slip onto the screened in porch where I've read countless books, ate countless meals, and played countless round of cards.


And later, when I walk to the lake, down the concrete steps that I rode my bike down and rub the scar above my eyebrow where I hit the ground. Skipping over those garden stones with our hands imprinted in them. Mine only a fraction of the size it is now, with my initials  "JC" scrawled messily besides. Still remember the day, even though it was the Summer before Trinity was an entity, so I was only six.
Down to the very point, where I stand, on the dock, to think.
The water is glass because it is only Wednesday and people don't start flooding in until at least Thursday.

This isn't "my happy place" or any of that nonsense. I've been here at good points in my life as well as bad ones. Lived here the Summer when my brother was in the hospital and no one knew what to do with me. I've cried myself into a headache on the screened in porch more than once. There was also that summer when I didn't know if I'd ever walk correctly again after an accident. I limped along the dirt path in a painfully slow way.
So, no. This isn't a place where everything is perfect. But rather, something in my life that has been consistent.

Maybe I'll sit here awhile. And throw stones to penetrate the surface.
And remember what my life felt like.
Up until this moment.
And if I'm really lucky, I'll forget that I exist. Instead I'll be a cloud or a drop of rain or a leaf in this still silence that wraps around me like a blanket.



4 comments:

  1. "And if I'm really lucky, I'll forget that I exist. Instead I'll be a cloud or a drop of rain or a leaf in this still silence that wraps around me like a blanket."

    I was thinking today about how I wanted to stop exiting. Or really just to stop being aware that I exist. so I could relax, really relax, maybe for a thousand years, a thousand anxiety free years.

    I have also come to realize that I seek consistency. It is rare and valuable. Not every thing can be consistent, nor would I want it to be. But those consistent anchors are precious.

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  2. This is so enchanting. Your writing is beyond beautiful.

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  3. This post reminded me of a time when our family went back to visit an old house we lived in. we are now in a different city. but that house we lived in for 4 years, the longest we ever lived in a house. driving through that city and seeing the sea line, the rough terrain of mountains, the many worn apartment buildings next to the expensive summer houses, the sunset that always filled the sky with a deep orange, yellow and red as it sunk into the sea, our house in which we had my favorite cat and dog out of the countless pets we have had, and finally that one meadow right by our house which was a place i often went by myself to sit in the wet grass that was over grown, contemplate at the many daisy that smiled at you in the spring, hide in the huge bush that was hollow on the inside, sometimes hiding from invented "bad guys" or sometimes hiding to cry, sitting on the one rock and watching the kids walk home from school, wishing i could be their friend. we spent a week in that city during the summer. The first day when we finally drove into the area where we had lived the familiar scene i looked on seemed to rip off a protective shell that covered my heart and underneath i intensely felt the tender soreness of missing home. It is strange how you feel like the sea splashing over the small wall of the walk way next to it is welcoming you like a dog does when its owner comes home. Even though you know millions of other eyes have rested on the same sea. these flowers, these roads, these tress, these hills, that sun set, this place where no path is unfamiliar and every stone and hill was a place where you lived through joy and sorrow. hardly anything had change since the 5 years we had moved. i hope it never will. but even if it does i can close my eyes and go over every inch of it, oh so familiar. and i will never forget those sunsets, those glorious sunsets that tinted our faces with gold and gave richness and beauty to every object that absorbed its light. thank you for bringing me back to that place and that house. :) i only wish somebody else did not own that old house so i could've again walked through it and remembered more precious memories like the little cupboard in the stairwell up to the attic in which our cat had countless litters, the first of which i was the first to see.

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"Sometimes the world seems like a big hole. You spend all your life shouting down it and all you hear are echoes of some idiot yelling nonsense down a hole"
_Adam Duritz

I love hearing things that aren't my own pathetic echoes.