UntitledSpeeding along the highway in a packed blue Camry, I look up and see “Welcome to Maine” on a brown sign pinned up on the side of a huge bridge, which crosses the Piscataqua River. I wonder how many times I’ve seen that sign. I see it every summer, at least four times, and also during fall, winter, and spring.
I glance to the front of the car where my mom is sitting, with shoulder - length hair that is completely free of gray. She has the energy of a Jack Russell terrier. She seems ready for anything, as if she could handle any problem. My dad is sitting to her right; and my brother, with his thick black glasses, relaxes, playing video games, in the back seat with me. Two hours later, our large van pulls into the driveway of Water Route forty - one in Belgrade Lakes, Maine. My cousins, Hillary, Rachel, Jeffery, and Paul, run up to the car. After a million hugs and kisses, Hillary and Ray unload my bag, which weighs more than my whole body, and carry it down the slope and into the boathouse.
The next few weeks float by effortlessly. We crawl out of bed each morning, gobble down cereal and toast, do our chores; and the rest of the day is ours to lounge around on the dock and play hide - and - seek and kick - the - can. We will walk up to our cousins’, Peter and Big Hillary’s, farm a few times throughout the summer. By the end of the vacation, we will have a whole bunch of new memories to look back on when we get older and to joke about with the family. For the time being, however, our time is spent swimming, arguing, playing, working, and having the time of our lives. At the moment, we have no worries. These are the good times in life when everyone feels invincible.
This feeling can’t even be taken away at eight o’clock on the morning of August 15th, 1995. The sun wakes me up so I look up from my bed and out the huge glass windows at the lake. I roll over and try to go to sleep. Crack! The sound bursts through my sweet morning slumber. Rachel and Hillary are on Hill’s bed, watching with wide eyes as the black clouds gather at the south end and creep their way up Great Pond. The onslaught begins. “Oh… My… Gosh…” are the only words that can come out of our mouths. When you can see twenty lightning bolts tearing through the sky at one moment and the wind is making trees bend in half, not much else comes to a four-year-old’s mind.
The next half hour is a rough one. It is mostly spent waiting. Too bad the boys got the sleeping porch this year. They can migrate to the living room with the parents, while we are secluded seventy - five feet away in a red boathouse all alone. Even with no one around to help, however, we will be fine. Huddled on one bed, we hear crashes and shatters constantly. Four-foot waves crash against the Stingray speedboat in the water downstairs. The bats in the walls can’t keep quiet. The muscles around our eyes hurt from being squeezed too tightly. Our ears are being overwhelmed with sounds of destruction. It seems as if everything is going to fall apart. The time passes slowly by as we crouch, holding each other tight, waiting out this torture, and doing everything we can to limit the destruction, like closing all the windows and the door tightly. Now we all feel as though those wonderful times have been instantly snatched away.
When the last few waves crash against the shore and the sun comes out again, we slowly uncoil, preparing ourselves to see the demolished battlefield. Hillary, being the oldest, sees it as her duty to face it first, so she moves toward the door. The only sound heard is the storm off in the distance, which can hardly be heard at all. The creaking of the big, white wooden barrier, the only thing separating us from the world, interrupts the deathly silence. Six eyes peer out hesitantly, expecting only the worst.
It seems as if our bravery paid off. We handled the situation well, avoiding panic. Then again, it is expected because the people we look up to, our parents, have been good role models, teaching us how to do this.
The grass is glistening with water and the sun is hitting it just right. Beyond this field of gems, we see a few spots where trees are lying. They can easily be moved. There is a coat of water covering everything, soon to evaporate into the air.
“Burger King or McDonalds? What are you in the mood for?” I look over at my mom, fresh out of chemotherapy, her bald head resting on the seat’s headrest. A white grin looks back at me. The fact that my dad no longer has a place in the car or that my mom’s hair elastics have been replaced with wigs or that my brother, Andrew, is living fifteen hundred miles away at Colorado College, doesn’t show at all. It’s clear to me now, as I look at my mom, where we got our courage and strength during that storm.
[TABLE OF CONTENTS, LHS CLASS OF 2009 EDITION]
Copyright © 2002-2007 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose ©
2002-2007 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.