What I Lost at the Lake
Author's note: This piece was written for a short story assignment in school, but I fell in love with the piece.... Show full author's note »
Noah.I met her on the way to Noah Wells’s annual 4th of July party. Noah owned a lake house in the mountains of upstate New York, a place where he prided himself on throwing his huge parties since freshman year. I’d known Noah since we were young, but we had drifted apart since the beginnings of high school. Anyone who got past his friendly front could see that he had an occasionally violent temper, which on many occasions had been the talk. We had stayed friendly enough, though, that I’d been invited to his summer rave.
“HURRY UP!” Noah yelled through the phone. “How long’s it gonna take to get your bags?”
“Well, maybe if you stopped calling me, I could actually get something done...” I said, hanging up the phone and tossing it onto the bed. The phone began to buzz again, threatening to jump off the bed. I answered it before it fell.
“Coming!” I shot through the phone as I flipped it open.
“Dude, you’re unbelievable. Stop fixing your hair or whatever and get into the car!” He laughed on the other end.
“Chill, I’m out.” I said slamming the door behind me and making it into the car. It took me a minute to figure out who was in the car, but I realized soon enough. Driving was Noah of course, but next to him sat a girl I couldn’t quite place. Her long brown hair was scrunched up against the headrest, and turquoise fingernails tapped the dash. I shot Noah a glance, ‘And who’s the chick?’ I thought, motioning with my eyes to the green nails. Noah grinned.
“Hey, Elli, this is Sam. Sam, this is Elli.” He smiled.
She turned toward me, tilting her head and smiling, green eyes glowing.
“Hi, Sam,” she said.
“Hey,” I said. “Nice to meet you.”
We met each other’s gaze, friendly but lingering on what was beyond ‘Hi,’ but neither of us ventured further. She turned back around and returned to tapping her fingernails on the dashboard.
Noah turned around, winking and mouthing ‘All mine.’ I smiled out of the corner of my mouth, brushing off the comment.
Plugging in my earphones, I lay on the seat and began to bob my head. “We gonna’ make it in time?” I said with a sarcastic tap to my naked wrist that was raised in the air. “Let’s go.”
I was interested. I know I shouldn’t have been because she was Noah’s, right? ‘All mine.’ Well, I was. After all, what could happen at a party? I knew I would regret it later.
For the rest of the car ride, I mostly slept, my IPod crooning lyrics into my ear.
When you’re on a golden sea, You don’t need no memory, Just a place to call your own, As we drift into the zone, On an island in the sun, We’ll be playing and having fun, And it makes me feel so fine, I can’t control my brain, We’ll run away together, We’ll spend some time forever, We’ll never feel bad anymore…
The wise words of Weezer lulled me into sleep. I gave into it and settled into the car cushions.
I awoke to the click of a camera shutter. Startled, I sat up abruptly smacking my head into the roof of the car. I cursed under my breath. “What was tha--?” I asked, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes.
Leaning against the open car door stood Elli with her camera phone in hand. “Cute,” she laughed, examining the photo. “You all right, though? Did you wet yourself?” she asked playfully.
“I did what?” I exclaimed, patting the seat of my pants frantically. Still standing in the doorway, she covered her mouth, stifling laughs that escaped her lips.
“Oh,” I said, embarrassed. Clearly, the sleep still hadn’t worn off, because my pants were dry.
“C’mon let’s get you unpacked,” she said, offering her hand.
Although I was hesitant to touch what ‘belonged’ to Noah, I did it anyway. She guided me out of the car and into the bright sunlight. The house hadn’t changed. From the outside the house looked small, and old, as if it were a log cabin. The inside though, which I knew for a fact was large and had an overdesigned feel for a cabin in the middle of nowhere. The outside though was the best aspect of the house. Though woods concealed most of it, a large fire pit stood not to far off from the house, and through the woods you could see the shining lake and the rough outline of the dock. It was peaceful, but in hours I knew all the peace would be interrupted.