–A special series of distraction stories

Written during the Corona Virus Pandemic with the hope of bringing a smile to someone’s face – or at least provide a short distraction during these challenging times. Stories are created based on one-word prompts that were submitted by friends. Each friend is assigned a character name and I develop a short fictitious story that integrates and upholds the word.

Quentin Day: Depth

Quentin stood at the edge of the boat ramp. He could feel the sweat beading on his forehead from the hot summer sun. He was staring at the vast expanse of the lake, which was glimmering and calm, and there wasn’t a boat or jet ski to be found.

“Odd that there aren’t any,” he thought as he looked around half expecting one or the other to go by any minute.

It had been years since he’d been back to the family cottage. He used to come here as a boy every summer. His parents would load him and his brother, Damien, into the car, and they would spend as many weekends – and at least two full weeks – living in an 800 square feet cottage. In the middle of nowhere, mind you.

Quentin laughed as he remembered swatting mosquitoes, spending what seemed like every waking hour outside, and pulling practical jokes on Damien every chance he got. “That’s what older brother’s do,” Quentin said to himself as he fondly remembered their last family vacation here.

The depth of their relationship as brothers never changed even though time and distance had separated them for years.

When his parents passed away, they left the cottage to both boys. But Quentin’s life had taken him across the pond, and so he left it in Damien’s hands. Rarely getting a chance to visit, Quentin would send money for its upkeep, and Damien would send him pictures of the various renovations he was making to the place. Inevitably, Damien would always send a photo with his feet up on the picnic table and a beer in his hand.

Quentin never really minded those summers spent with family. There were several other cottages, but there was plenty of space between them. Plus, there were great hiking and running trails nearby, and as the boys got older, they never missed an opportunity to check them out. They even found a hidden path one year, and how they had overlooked it for so long, they weren’t sure.  So, they followed it along the lake. The trail was windy, and the terrain rocky but easy to navigate. Quentin noticed markings on the trees, which must have been trail markers at one point in time. When they neared the end, they found an old, abandoned camp. The outside appeared run down, and when they ventured inside, all that awaited them was an old pine table, and two benches smack in the middle of the room—nothing more, nothing less.

“Quentin,” a voice shouted curiously out from a distance. Lost in thought, Quentin never heard the car pull up. Quentin turned around only to see Damien standing by the fire pit.

“I thought that was you. What a surprise!” Exclaimed Damien. “I didn’t know you were coming. Damn brother, how long has it been since we’ve both been here at the same time?”

“Too long, Damien. Too long. I like what you’ve done with the place. The boat ramp seems a lot sturdier than I remember, and the old boathouse is looking good. Is the refrigerator still stocked?”

“Of course! And I didn’t even know you were coming.”

“I know, Damien. I wanted it to be a surprise. But Jenna knows.”

“No wonder she rushed me out of the house this morning and said she and the twins would meet me here later: my wife and my brother, co-conspirators.”

“That’s not all, Damien. I have something for you.”

Quentin handed Damien a key on the old anchor keychain that used to be their dad’s.

“A key? For what?” Damien asked, slightly confused.

“Do you remember that old abandoned camp where we spent so much time? Well, that is until mom and dad busted us, and we had to get even more clever about going there.”

“Yeah. I haven’t thought of that place in years, Quentin. Someone bought it a year ago, though, and started renovating it. I figured it was probably someone from the city looking for their rural escape.”

“I know,” Quentin said. “It was me. I bought it.”

“You bought it. Really?” Damien quipped back, shocked, and surprised again.

“I did. It’s for you and Jenna and the twins. I had the O’Connell Bros. renovate it, and it’s yours. Free and clear. This place is too small for all of us.”

“All of us? What do you mean, all of us?” Damien said perplexed.

“I’m moving back, Damien. I want to be here with my family – with my brother. You took care of mom and dad and sacrificed so much. So, please, let me do something for you.”

Damien was at a loss for words, and he felt himself choking up. He hugged his brother fiercely. The depth of their bond, as strong as ever. 


Laura Mikolaitis
Laura Mikolaitis
Laura credits her writing, which laid dormant for years, to her late mom, who always believed in her. Writing unabashedly from the heart and inspired by millions of moments, three tenets of evergreen advice that her mom always shared with her are her guiding principles. Whether it is poetry, fiction, or a personal essay, her love for the written word feeds her mind, body, and spirit. Laura’s creativity also comes to life in her passion for photography. Her ongoing love affair with the moon, her joy for family and friends, her connection to nature, and being a loving canine mom often become some of her best subjects. Laura has held many roles throughout her professional career, including Brand Manager, Project Manager, and Director of Global Business Development and Sales Operations. In addition, she has a background in consumer-packaged goods, manufacturing, and textiles. Laura currently works in biotechnology for Berkshire Corporation as their Product Marketing Manager. She holds a Master of Science degree in Communications and Information Management from Bay Path University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from SUNY Oswego. Originally from Northern NY, Laura resides with her husband and canine child in a small town in Massachusetts that captured her heart years ago.

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    • Catherine,
      Thank you! I am so pleased that you love the story. I enjoyed writing this series and creating stories that would uplift or perhaps leave one laughing or hanging in suspense. But most of all, I loved writing each story because I knew that the word each person gave to me probably held something special for them, especially seeing as how it is during a pandemic.

      I also think that each story allowed me to turn inward also and pull from a place that needed to be released. Not only a good distraction for me, but also something minor that I could do to perhaps provide someone with a smile or a laugh.

      Thanks for stopping by, Catherine. I wish you well!

  1. Oh, I loved this story so much, Laura. Teared up at the ending. Simply eloquent and beautiful. It filled my heart. I’m always grateful to read stories with characters who genuinely and deeply love each other -whether they are brothers, best friends, parent and child-whatever the combination-it fills me-affirms that people create these kind of deep bonds of affection, care, kindness, and love with one another. What a fulfilling is about in my humble opinion. Thank you for sharing this beautiful writing with all of us. I appreciate you, your writing, so very much. :)with Heart emoji (imagine)

    • Oh, Laura! Thank you so much. Writing the distraction stories enabled me to go deep within a creative part of myself, and it feels wonderful. I find joy in the character creation and drawing inspiration from so many people and places – and even my experiences. I found that the words my friends supplied for the stories were all such strong words, and I suspect of importance to them given the times we face. So, I tried to do my best to do justice to the word, and make it more than simply a word in the story.

      I appreciate you too, Laura, and love the inspiration that you put out into the universe. You make me want to be a better writer and person.

  2. Laura — I was immediately elsewhere when I started reading your fine piece – specifically back to Quetico Provincial Park in southwestern Ontario. I used to head up there every summer when school let out. My teaching buddies, and my brother and I would spend a week camping and fishing. Heaven. There was something totally restorative about the place despite its challenges.

    Hmm, I feel a story coming on.

    Thank you for a much needed respite from it all.

    • Jeff,
      Ah yes, Quetico Provincial Park. I love reading your stories where you share your memories of being there. They always draw me in, and I feel like I am right there with you. I believe that there is healing power in the water, be it an ocean, lake, or river. Perhaps that’s why I like spending so much time in the river behind our home. It grants me some sanctity if even for a few minutes.

      I’m pleased that this story about Quentin and Damien resonated with you and reminded you of a place that brings you such joy. I do hope you’ll write another story about your time there. Please tag me when you do!

      Thanks for being here, Jeff. I appreciate you and your stories so much.

  3. Laura, this story, so beautifully written as always, suggests a question: What’s the more powerful pull — family or water? The depths of both, as you suggest, can be unfathomable.

    I love the whole story, of course. But this is what got my heart and continues to hold it: “I’m moving back, Damien. I want to be here with my family – with my brother. You took care of mom and dad and sacrificed so much. So, please, let me do something for you.”

    I’ve written elsewhere about the older of my two younger brothers, Keith. Just 19 months younger than me, we were close as kids, then drifted apart in our 20s. The death of our Dad in January of 2014 brought us closer again. We talk at least once a week now. We see each other when we can. We matter to each other again. That’s a gift as deep and a pull as powerful as water.

    Thank you for sharing this story with us. Most of all, thank you for writing.

    • Mark,
      I am sorry about the loss of your dad. Thank you for sharing a part of your story with me about you and your brother. Death and grief can bring us together or tear us apart. I’m glad that it brought you and your brother, Keith, closer together again. It is a gift as deep and a pull as powerful as water for sure.

      My mom also passed away in January of 2014, and thankfully, my bond with my two older brothers remains strong, and probably more so since her passing. The younger of my two older brothers, Gary, was the one to bring some humor to my deeply saddened and broken heart. My mom had a leg amputated the year prior to her death. So, as we sat around the table at my dads eating pizza and talking, I said that mom would want to be buried wearing high heels. Except that she had gotten rid of them when she could no longer wear them. So Gary piped in and said lets go to the mall and get her some heels then. Otherwise she will haunt us. So off we went In search of the perfect pair of nude heels and pantyhose. Even in her death she had us laughing. I am forever thankful for the gift of love she gave to us.

      Thanks so much for reading and sharing, Mark. I appreciate it. I’m also thankful for you telling me this story because it made me remember some special moments also. Moments that perhaps I may need to write about.

    • Larry,
      Thank you for such kind sentiments. I enjoyed writing this story, and I suspect that my love for family is part of what helped me create this piece. I appreciate you taking the time to read and share your thoughts.