I wandered to the end of the dock, trying to get my thoughts together. We had just moved here, just four months ago, and now we had to move again.
My parents were getting divorced in three weeks.
As I walked, I felt the sand particles on my feet rub against the oak planks. I sat down heavily and pulled my hood over my head. I snuggled into my hoodie, trying to keep warm in the late October breeze.
It had started with my dad. He just sat us down last night - my mom, sisters, and I - and announced he and Mom were getting divorced. He explained to us how they hadn't been getting along well, and they just weren't in love with each other anymore. My mother never said anything, just stared into her mug of coffee, letting it get cold. She never looked up at us or told us to stay calm. After Dad had finished, he got up and grabbed his suitcase, which I didn't notice until he picked it up. He kissed each of us three girls on the head, told us he loved us, grabbed his coat, and walked out the door. He didn't acknowledge my mom or look at her. He shut the door and drove off.
"It's because I found out he was having an affair," Mom had said, "With his coworker," I immediately knew who it was. Miss Grenson, whom I had met once when Dad had brought me to his work, about a month ago. I had noticed something going on between them. I never told my mom, fearing she'd call for a divorce, but I was just delaying the inevitable.
Mom cried softly, and slowly got up from the table.
"I never wanted a divorce. But he left me no choice," she said. She dumped her coffee out in the sink and ran upstairs. My sisters, Anna and Holly, and I all looked at each other. They were as confused as I was.
All of a sudden, Anna, who's nine, started crying. I sighed. It was going to be a long, emotional night.
"I want Dad to come back!" Anna wailed, tears streaming down her face. I had gotten up and lead her to her room, put on her jammies, and tucked her
into bed with her stuffed gray elephant, Ella. I kissed her forehead goodnight, and just as I was about to turn the lights off, she whispered:
"Will he come back?"
I turned slightly. "No, Anna. He's not," I replied. I didn't want to sugarcoat the situation, so I chose the most direct way of telling her. I flicked the lights off, and, once I knew Holly had gone to bed, I laid down in my bed and fell asleep, listening to my mother's soft sobs.
I leaned down and touched the water with the fingertip of my forefinger. The water was cool, making me shiver once again. I stared out at the lake, imagining it was an ocean where I could swim, swim away from all the emotional damage my father had left in his wake. Swim away from the turmoil that was raging in our house like a tempest. I already was sick of everything. I loathed my dad for cheating on my mom and leaving us, just for some young woman. I didn't want to look at my mom, knowing that if I did, it'd remind me of too many happy memories with them both. And perhaps my mother didn't want to look at us, because we'd give her memories of a once happy family.
But all of that was gone now. We'd never be that happy family ever again.
The Lake. The place where I could go and forget the troubles I had.
I'd never see it again.
Holly walked up behind me and wrapped her arms around my shoulders. At first she startled me, but I let her keep her arms where they were.
“Raina,” she said, “I’m scared,”
“Don’t be,” I replied. She let go of me and sat down next to me. I threw my arm over her shoulder and gave her a half hug.
“We’ll be okay,” I lied.
“No we won’t. Mom’s going to have to get a job since Dad won’t be providing for us. I overheard her talking to Aunt Darcy about it,” Holly refused to look up at me. She stared down at the serene water as we listened to the soft swish swish of the water against the sand on our small, personal beach.
“It’ll be rough for awhile. But we’ll all get used to it. We’ll be fine,” I assured her.
“You don’t have to lie to me, you know,” she replied as she swiveled her head to look at me. She drew her knees to her and hugged them tightly.
We stayed silent for what seemed like hours. Listening to the birds sing their songs to all creation. We sat there and watched the setting sun, watching in amazement as the sky turned into brilliant hues of orange, yellow, and red. We watched until the sun was down over the mountains and night fell. The stars popped up one by one as the moon crested over the mountains opposite to where the sun had set earlier.
It brought temporary happiness to me. The beautiful scenes made me forget of our family problems for awhile. The night sky enveloped me, the stars welcoming me as one of their own. I lost myself in the view before me. Once again, I felt more at home than ever.
The Lake would always be my home.