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.