At Mt. Kineo

At eleven-thirty, it occurs to Anne that she should be worried. They are all waiting for something to happen, or at least her husband is, she can see the anticipation in Nathan’s face. Guarded, but also intrigued. Dinner with Robert and Cassandra is now beginning its fourth hour. Half the gin is gone, a bottle of red, and now this second bottle of champagne opened against all their protests. Robert says he’s brought the champagne to be drunk, not to sit in the refrigerator for six months, and so the muted pop and the fizz running down the neck of the bottle and over his sun-brown hand.

Some smiles are dangerous. Robert has such a smile. The liquor might explain it, but Anne doesn’t think so. Too much tooth is on display, the lips peeled back in such a way that reminds her of a corpse. It is not a mouth she would want to kiss.

When Nathan had been introduced to Robert, he began in his usual way, the firm handshake and easy smile, the hale welcome to Maine. All the summer guests who take up a few weeks’ residence in the lake house next door receive the same treatment—a description of the sun warming the cliffs of Mt. Kineo, how quiet the world is in the early morning, the fishermen on the lake and hikers on the trails looking for moose. Some places simply command reverence, even if the people come and go. Some places deserve always to be celebrated. Nathan isn’t concerned by a drunk at his dinner table—he just wants to see what will happen. With the new bottle open, he holds out his glass to be refilled.

Cassandra, who has been quiet for a time, is suddenly full of praise for the house, the view from the porch where in daylight the lake can be seen between the pines, the meal they just shared. Sincere probably, but all of it meant to cover for the effect of her husband. Anne is embarrassed for her, and no matter how much she drinks, can’t get the sound of it out of her voice. Even now, Robert is laughing at his wife. His face is red and saliva is collecting in the corners of his mouth. When he next speaks, it will spew forth in a fine mist. Anne can think of nothing to do to save the situation. She’s desperate to put an end to it all, to close the door behind them—and the evening—and watch as they stumble across the lawn to their own house. Nathan has leaned back into his chair, his legs are crossed and he calmly sips his champagne.

Desperate herself, Cassandra suggests they play a game. Charades. “Let’s play?” she says a second time. It’s known that she loves games. And either Robert will play and be distracted or he will refuse and she will suggest that as a reason to go home.

“All right,” Robert says and stands. He’s wasted. In all of his movements is the exaggerated precision of the drunk. “All right, let’s play.”

“I’ve never been very good at Charades,” Anne says.

“It’s okay,” Nathan says. “We’ll just play for fun—anyone can guess.” He looks at his wife and nods. Don’t worry.

“Great!” Cassandra says. “Who wants to go first?”

“I’ll go first,” Robert says.

Nathan smiles. “That’s perfect, you’re already standing.”

The two men look at each other. It’s clear to everyone that Robert can’t quite tell if he’s being fucked with or to what degree. After another moment, he shakes his head as if to clear it and begins.

Robert raises his index finger in the air.

“First word,” says Cassandra.

Robert nods. He begins by making a circle with the tip of his forefinger and thumb of his left hand, then proceeds to vigorously insert and withdraw the first two fingers of his right hand. Cassandra turns crimson. Anne looks at the wall. If for no other reason than to make him stop, Nathan says, “Fuck?”

Robert snaps his fingers and gives a thumbs up. He takes a moment to drink what’s left of the champagne in his glass, then puts two fingers in the air.

“Second word,” Nathan says.

Robert turns to Cassandra and stares at her until she looks him in the eye, then simply points at her. “Fuck you,” he says. And then in a series of movements that later will strike them all as almost elegant, Robert picks up an empty champagne bottle in each hand, cocks them back nearly to his ears, and throws them with surprising precision to break against the stone fireplace. Anne shrieks. Cassandra stands and screams at her husband.

Robert wipes his nose with the back of his hand and simply walks across the room and out the door.

“Oh my God, oh my God,” Cassandra says. “I’m so sorry.”

“You better go after him,” Nathan says. “Make sure he’s okay.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t worry,” Anne says. “Call me in the morning.”

When they hear the door close behind Cassandra, Nathan and Anne simply look at each other.

“What the hell just happened?” Anne says.

“We had our new friends over for dinner.”

“Holy shit,” Anne says, looking at the spray of glass on the floor. “We should clean this up.”

“No, leave it,” Nathan says. “Some days just need to end.”

* * *

Morning sun begins to warm the cliffs of Mt. Kineo. The lake houses quiet in the early hour, the enormous windows all facing the water.

The world outside is waking up, but Anne is still asleep. She is lithe and her skin has already turned cinnamon from the summer sun. She is lying on her stomach, one leg bent. A spot of drool has accumulated on the pillow beneath her open mouth.

In the next room, warm embers are still banked in the fireplace, the heavy stones blackened with use. Gardenias glow white in a wooden planter on the mantle. And lying on the ceramic tiles at its base are shards of green glass from the two champagne bottles, the famous labels gallantly intact.

Nathan lies in bed beside his wife, his breath deep and regular with sleep. Close by on the table is a glass of water and a small notebook in which he faithfully records all the ideas and some of the dreams that come to him in the night. Just now he lies in the fetal position, his knees tugged up quite high and with one hand stretched out to rest on the small of his wife’s back. They often sleep like this—touching each other, the hand resting there not proprietary, but for reassurance. Most people who know him think that Nathan is kind, but it’s this gesture—the reaching out to his wife in sleep—that tells a deeper story, makes him easy to like.

Not far down the lake is the site of the old Mt. Kineo House. A resort from the 1840s that was burned down and rebuilt three, four times. It had been huge, many-gabled and circled with two levels of colonnaded porches. A postcard world. Henry David Thoreau visited there, Teddy Roosevelt. Now there is only a golf course. Still, Maine in summer, the early morning quietude and the sun brightening with every moment.

In a little while, they are both up. Anne joins her husband on the porch. Her hair is piled high on top of her head and she’s sipping at a large mug of coffee. It is possible to see how relaxed she is, how content from the long sleep and now this view onto the lake—most of the unpleasantness from last night forgotten.

“The water looks choppy,” she says. “Maybe we shouldn’t take the boat out.”

Nathan looks up from his book.

“It’s always choppy.”

The sky is blue, the air clear. The clock’s hands move like they’re submerged in lake water. Nothing has to be decided immediately or even soon. Anne puts on the record player: Billie Holiday, “Easy Living.” There is the tinkling of piano keys and boozy clarinets. He rocks in his chair. Takes a deep breath. The weight of the book feels good in his hands. He loves Maine, loves Moosehead Lake. He’s been coming here since he was a boy and knows all the land and its gossip. There is a story he likes to tell about a young Teddy Roosevelt, brash and buck-toothed, and getting into a fistfight with some of the local boys. He lost the fight. But Nathan likes the story—the future president showing his form early. It makes him happy to imagine that the fight had to be delayed briefly while Roosevelt removed his hat and jacket, folded his eyeglasses carefully before closing his hand into a fist.

The house is fewer than 100 yards from the water, the view of Mt. Kineo perfect. Anne likes to pretend the land is cursed. A place of exile. Lore has it that the name comes from a particularly cruel Native American chief—Kineo—who was banished by his tribe to live out his remaining years on the mountain. The granite cliffs topped with pine. Beautiful in summer, but in winter freezing temperatures, the ground covered in feet of snow, bitter and dangerous. Nathan has walked the Bridle Trail and the Indian Head Trail to the summit, at all times of the day, in every season. He has gathered shards of flint the Native Americans used for their arrowheads.

Though he doesn’t know what he’s doing with his life, he’s content here by the lake. Believes he’s made a strong opening move—marrying Anne, buying this house. The sunlight on the water, the sound of his hiking boots on a forest trail, the books he’s reading in this rocking chair, the ever-present smell of wood smoke. All this experienced against the tangle of his wife’s body in the night, her voice in his ear.

Anne returns wearing jeans and a navy tank top, his Red Sox cap—it’s her errand-running outfit. “I’m going to the store for a newspaper,” she says. “Do you want anything?”

“Buy more wine?” He poses it as a question.

“Yes, but not champagne.”

“That didn’t turn out well, did it?”

“No.”

Running errands makes her happy—to have part of each day filled with small, easily accomplished purpose. They own a little Jeep she likes to drive. It’s Anne who takes care of it, washes it, checks the oil, keeps it filled with gas. She turns the engine over and lets it run for a few minutes, takes the opportunity to examine her face in the mirror. Agrees with herself that she looks cute in the baseball cap. Then she puts the Jeep into gear and drives. This is when she likes to think, happy to be alone, the tires rolling on the road, a nice breeze. She doesn’t even turn on the radio. Today, it’s only this: that every day on the lake feels like a new idea, the summer guests who visit bringing God knows what possibilities with them. There is something thrilling about these days, the tingle of self-discovery.

Half an hour later she’s returned with the wine and the newspaper, the shopping bags at her feet as she’s rejoined Nathan on the porch. She’s only just leaned back into the chair when the text comes through. Reading, she gives a little snort of laughter and replies.

“What’s funny?”

“Cassandra describing Robert’s hangover. She wants to know if we’re taking the boat out.”

“Do you want to?”

She looks up at the sky and then down at the little white crests in the lake. “Yes,” she says and starts tapping out a new text.

Nathan doesn’t like his neighbors, but wants to see what Cassandra will be like without her husband. Last night they put on quite a performance together. There had been an undeniable élan to the way Robert had thrown those champagne bottles. He remembers with clarity the exact tone of Cassandra’s scream and then Anne’s embarrassed laughter. It was all right, they had drunk all the champagne. He looks again at the cliffs of Mt. Kineo, his eye always drawn there. Its very existence a reminder that what Robert or he or anyone else did made very little difference.

Sooner than expected, Cassandra arrives wearing a white bikini top and a long tie-dyed wraparound skirt. Dark sunglasses. Her hair is still damp from the shower. Anne is there almost immediately to touch the fabric of the skirt and smile over it.

“Thank you for still speaking to me,” Cassandra says.

“Oh, please. Some broken glass?” Anne says. “No one lost an eye.”

Still. Her husband is a walking embarrassment and she could hardly sleep last night for shame. Without being able to see her eyes, it’s hard to know whether or not to take her seriously. Anne has gone to the kitchen to bring her a cup of coffee.

“I truly hate him sometimes,” Cassandra says. Her voice is always loud—it’s one of the things Nathan doesn’t like, people who can’t control the tone of their voices—but there’s something extra this morning. “He embarrasses me like that and then of course we’re home two seconds and he wants to fuck me. Man can barely stand and he wants to have sex.”

Anne is preparing the coffee, selecting the beans, grinding them, wiping some water from the bottom of the French press. She’s thinking of the bathing suit she’ll choose for later, the navy one-piece that’s cut away high at the hip. Occasionally, she remembers to listen to what Cassandra is saying.

“He’s like so many men. Something in his life frustrates him—I wouldn’t even know what it was, he never tells me anything—and then he tries to drink it and fuck it away. Pathetic. Man wouldn’t even know how to dress if I didn’t buy his clothes for him.”

“There must be something you like about him,” Nathan says.

“When you marry someone you’re supposed to be able to trust them with certain basic things. Basic things, like your dignity.”

Behind the dark glasses Nathan knows she has beautiful blue eyes. Blond hair. He reminds himself that she’s young like they are and wants to find a way to admire her, but her voice is making his ears ring. Her father owns a car dealership in Pittsburgh. She is the first person in her family to have graduated from college.

“If I told my father how he treats me…” Cassandra says. “I thought we’d have so much fun here in Maine. Let him get away from his office or whatever it is. Who brings their shit with them on vacation?”

“Honey,” Nathan calls. “You better put some Kahlúa in Cassandra’s coffee.”

Anne brings in a steaming mug. She’s changed while they were talking. The navy one-piece and white shorts.

“Thanks,” Cassandra says. “And sorry. I’m freaking you out. Sometimes I just can’t control myself. You should have heard me yelling at him this morning. He’s dead drunk and I’m still screaming at him. ‘You’re a motherfucker,’ I said. ‘You’re a total shit. You-fuck-your-mother.’ All this right beside his ear. Then I smacked him in the side of the head. Nothing—absolutely dead to the world.”

They gather their things for the lake: a cooler with cheese and fruit and two of the bottles of wine, towels and sunscreen, Anne’s paperback novel. There is a stone path that leads down to the dock, and they walk along it in single file.

“Are you sure you don’t want Robert to join us?” Anne says. “I know we could pull him together. He’s probably sitting there in a daze wondering where you are.”

“That I know isn’t true,” Cassandra says.

The boat is a fair-sized pontoon with a covered cabin amidships and what Nathan calls party spaces fore and aft. He has a secret pride in the boat, the sound of the deck as he walks, the wheel and throttle, the cabin like a child’s secret clubhouse. He turns over the engine and listens happily as it purrs to life. The women are aft, sitting across from each other on the long white-cushioned benches. In a few moments they’re underway.

“Are you going to let me drive?” Cassandra asks and laughs.

“If you want to.”

“Maybe later,” she says. “I’m too busy chatting up your wife.”

The conversation turns to other vacations, places seen or yet to be seen. Cassandra wants very much to experience the French Riviera. This is the word she uses, experience.

“I have this vision of myself in a long red dress, diamonds, playing roulette in a fancy casino,” Cassandra says and cocks her head in a haughty expression. “Can’t you just see me there?”

Another boat passes them as they head out deeper into the lake. On its deck are three children in orange life vests who wave to them. The women wave back.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Provence,” Anne says. “Those old French towns, the lavender fields.”

This is a fantasy inherited from her mother. Nathan has heard her talk about it 500 times. The ways she says ‘lavender fields’ like something sacred.

“What about you, Nathan?” Cassandra says. “What’s your fantasy?”

“You’re looking at it.”

Far enough away from the shore, he cuts the engine and lets them drift. There are other boaters on the lake, but no one close by. Nathan’s swimming trunks are an old faded blue. In the right pocket is a little bottle opener tied with a bit of fabric. He pulls off his shirt and feels the sun on his skin. He likes his body. A cyclist’s, maybe, since the women have him thinking about France. Lean muscle, his chest lightly covered with hair. Nearly every day 50 push-ups and 100 crunches. He turns on the radio to the Top 40 station. In a moment he’ll put on sunscreen and lie on the deck, unmoving, a lizard in the sun.

Nathan doesn’t even pretend not to look when Cassandra removes the tie-dyed skirt and Anne steps out of her white shorts. The bottom of Cassandra’s bikini more an idea than anything else.

They want to go in the water right away. Nathan doesn’t mind. He has three inner tubes tied off on the starboard side and throws each into the water. He dives in, then Anne. After a brief moment of hesitation, Cassandra follows feet first. She emerges, working hard to keep her sunglasses in place. When she’s sure they’re secured, she smiles. They all do. The water is cool, thank God, killing the beginnings of an erection. Anne disappears beneath the water and reemerges inside her tube. She is an effortless swimmer, at home in the water. He swims over to her and she leans in to give him a kiss. For the moment, this is their life. The water, the sun, all this time. They are deeply comfortable in it. When they look up from themselves, they discover Cassandra lounging in her tube. With both hands, she blows them a kiss.

“What are they fighting about?” he whispers to Anne.

“Whether the Earth is round or flat. How many colors make the blue of the sky.”

“Seriously.”

“I think he’s doing drugs,” she says. She rubs her nose until he understands.

He gets comfortable in his own inner tube and they are all floating. He looks at Cassandra and likes her better when she’s not talking about her husband. She is a nice friend for Anne, uncomplicated and fun. Someone to have a drink with and exchange some gossip.

Cassandra is telling them how she went on riverboat cruises in Pittsburgh. Three rivers, did they know? They did. The skyline of the city was always breathtaking from the water, but she was too afraid to swim, didn’t want to come out glowing in the dark. She didn’t care what they said about how clean the rivers were now. Industrial pollutants didn’t just disappear.

After some time they climb back onto the boat. Anne asks him to open the wine while she arranges cheese and fruit onto plates. After a sip of wine, Cassandra wants to know what Anne will do for work. Will she really go to law school? Or is that just a thing she says? People are always saying they’re going to law school.

“I don’t know,” Anne replies. She’s taken a moment to make sure there’s a smile in her voice.

“If Robert’s bank wasn’t in New York, I’d go home and work for my father. The dealership has five brands, cars for half a mile on either side of McKnight Road.”

“What would you do for him?” Nathan says.

“Anything. Everything. Did I tell you that as a child I appeared in television commercials? Especially at Christmas. They dressed me up like an elf.”

“Maybe you could reprise your role?” Anne says.

“You could wear your bikini,” Nathan says.

“With my elf hat.” Everyone laughs.

The women reapply their sunscreen and lie on their stomachs. Anne has closed her eyes, but her feet are raised in the air behind her, gently swaying back and forth, her toes stretched out toward the sun. For a long while no one talks. First Cassandra turns over, then Anne. Nathan has gone into the cabin and sits in the chair behind the wheel. He reads a few pages of Anne’s paperback, then tents the book over his eyes and inhales the scent of the yellowing pages. Like this he almost falls asleep.

When the light begins to change to late afternoon, perhaps even early evening, Anne gets up and switches off the radio that’s been playing and playing. She has a headache. Too much sun and wine, too little food. Maybe something else as well.

“Let’s play a game,” Cassandra says. She’s uncorking a second bottle of wine. “It’s a drinking game. A person tells us something from their lives and we have to guess whether they’re telling the truth. If we guess wrong, we drink. If we guess right—”

“I think we know how that game works,” Anne says. “I don’t want to play.”

But Cassandra won’t give up. She whines a little in a way she thinks is charming, looks to Nathan for support.

“It will help to pass the time,” she says.

“Time is passing just fine.”

“Come on!” Cassandra says. “Just a couple of rounds until I get my buzz back.”

Anne has put on her shorts and Nathan’s shirt. She sits on the white bench and hugs her knees to her chest. The lake is quiet, water lapping against the hull of the boat. Cassandra asks just the kinds of foolish questions Anne was afraid she might. Was I a virgin on my wedding night? Do I like broccoli? Do I know how to drive a manual transmission? Nathan plays along. No, she wasn’t a virgin. She hates broccoli. Her father owns a car dealership, of course she can drive a stick. Cassandra is drinking and drinking and drinking. Anne’s lack of enthusiasm kills all the fun, however.

Cassandra sits on the edge of the boat and bathes her feet in the water. Her back is to them and when she speaks it’s out into the lake. She giggles that she’s going to keep her feet in the water until they absolutely turn into prunes. The word prunes makes her hysterical. Nathan exchanges a look with his wife and then sits beside Cassandra and puts his feet in the water too. They are almost shoulder to shoulder. They all seem like children suddenly—getting on each other’s nerves after spending too much time together. She splashes water on his legs and he splashes back. She can hardly breathe for laughing. The sun won’t set for another couple hours, but some of its heat is gone and much of the day’s brightness.

“Are you ever going to take off those sunglasses?” Nathan says. His own are in the cabin.

“No, never,” she says and laughs again. “Never, ever, not never.” Then she turns to him and removes the sunglasses.

Below Cassandra’s right eye is a little egg, swollen under the skin like a tumor. It is black, but in that black are many colors: blue and yellow, green and purple. All look tender and painful, as if even the feathery touch of a makeup brush would cause her to wince in pain. Nathan’s own skin tightens in sympathy. Suddenly he realizes how close he is to her, can feel the heat coming off her body, smell the suntan lotion and the sour breath of white wine. Without thinking he raises his hand and almost brushes the bruise with his fingertips, then he turns back and calls for Anne. In a moment they’re both there, talking over each other, their voices some combination of shock and anger. There’s no question about what happened.

Cassandra is embarrassed. “It’s okay,” she says turning her head away. “He’s hit me before.”

“How does that make it okay?” Anne says.

“It will heal.”

Anne watches as her husband takes Cassandra’s hand in both of his. For a couple moments he just sits there like that holding her hand. Finally he asks, “What are you going to do?”

Cassandra shrugs. She notices the look on Anne’s face and pulls her hand away.

“I’m hungry,” she says. She brightens her voice and smiles. “Is there anything else to eat?”

Anne unpacks the pieces of cheesecake she’s hidden as a surprise. They eat just as the sun begins to set. Only thirty more minutes of daylight, Anne thinks, maybe less. Something has turned in the day and she cannot understand how it happened. She blames herself. Cassandra is her friend. She believes suddenly and with great surety that this woman, this person with whom she has already spent so many negligent hours—painting each other’s toenails, mixing drinks, dancing together on the lawn while the sprinkler gently cooled their summer skin—who she held in secret contempt for being just a little too naïve if not innocent, that this woman has now, somehow, infected their lives. If she told Nathan this thought, he would say she was overreacting. But Anne can feel it, the way you can feel an illness taking root in the body. Just a slight elevation in temperature, a scratchiness in the throat, the symptoms small but with each passing moment taking on the weight of inevitability.

“He needs help,” Cassandra says. “He’s an addict. It’s his personality, you know? I know what it is to have appetites. Robert wants to devour the whole world. Sometimes when you want that, you need a little help.”

“You need help, too,” Anne says.

“I have you.”

Those three simple words are a confirmation of all that she is afraid of. Nathan is already looking at Cassandra with compassion. She knows him, knows his kindness. It doesn’t seem fair to her, the situation playing right into the very heart of his personality. She wants to warn him: Be Careful. No, she wants to shout: Don’t Be Stupid. This woman with her blue eyes and perfect ass and abusive husband. He’ll want to rescue her. But only a fool would think she could be saved. What did she say? Never, ever, not never. Don’t they know by now that people can only save themselves?

For a little while no one knows what to say. Nathan begins to light the lamps. Anne cleans up the dishes and puts them away. With the long day in the sun and the shock of Cassandra’s eye, she feels exhausted. She finds a blanket and wraps it around her shoulders. The air is suddenly cool. Later, at home, she’ll ask Nathan to build a fire again. She stretches out on the white bench and closes her eyes.

When she wakes again it is to the sound of voices singing, Nathan’s and Cassandra’s. There is an almost symphonic perfection, as if they’ve been performing together for years. They are sitting together shoulder-to-shoulder again and swaying back and forth. Anne stretches and sits up, and she can’t help but smile at the look of goofy delight on her husband’s face.

“Hey, Piano Man,” she says. “I didn’t know you worked for tips.”

They belt out the chorus a final time and Anne applauds. “Bravo,” she says, “Brava.”

The goofy things that make us happy, she thinks. Singing together, feeling the breath surge up from the diaphragm, through our chests and throats and out into the world. And to have a partner, what easy, empty intimacy.

Nathan looks at her and sees her smile but knows she’s dangerously unhappy. Already it might be too late, she thinks. The whole day has been one long nurturing of the infection. Cassandra: so lovely and fragile. Cassandra: so surprisingly complicated. Cassandra: so damaged and in need of help. God save us, this woman’s stupid life being played out under the cursed eye of Mt. Kineo. Cassandra might be a victim of her husband, but she knows just how to save herself. She believes in her right to survive.

The sun is only a faint orange line on the horizon when they turn for home. There is always something a little bit frightening about being out on deep water in the dark. Even as a sprinkling of stars begins to populate the sky. Nathan is in the cabin with Cassandra showing her how to drive the boat. She can’t seem to hold the throttle steady and gives a shrill whelp of fear and delight as the engine spikes. It’s nothing to imagine Cassandra climbing onto Nathan’s lap, kissing him, her tongue sliding into his mouth. There are little cabins set back deep in the woods that one can rent. That’s where they would meet. The cabin stifling in the noonday heat, the sweat pouring off their bodies. Would she rest her head on his chest and listen to his heartbeat? Begin to plan out their future one moment at a time?

They see the strobe of red and blue lights even before they’ve reached the dock. It is full dark now. None of them can remember what day it is. Wednesday? Thursday? Panic has them running almost the moment Nathan has the boat settled against the dock. Over the wooden planks, across one yard and into another, to the house that Cassandra and Robert have rented for nearly all of the month of July. In the gravel drive beside the house are two police cars and an ambulance with its back doors open. For a moment they simply stand there together, gaping. As soon as someone speaks they will lose all control over their lives.

Nathan turns to look at Anne, and that’s when Cassandra bolts for the ambulance. She is engulfed by the arms of the police officers before she can climb inside. She’s shrieking now. Finally, she makes them understand that it’s her husband they have inside.

Nathan looks inside the ambulance. Robert’s body lies on a gurney.

“Oh no, no, no, no,” Cassandra says. She’s just beginning to shake his shoulders.

“He’s gone,” Anne says.

“He can’t be.”

“Come away.”

The police are talking to Nathan. He’s been dead most of the day. Never left his bed. Even with an experienced user everything can be fine and then, one time, it’s not. This is a part they like, talking and talking, explaining people’s deviance to them. Nathan tries to think whether Robert might have been dead even before Cassandra left. Eventually, he turns away.

Hours later he and Anne are in bed, listening to Cassandra weep. She had refused to enter her house. Soon, he realizes Anne is weeping too. Silently. Her shoulders almost imperceptibly shaking. She is turned away from him. He reaches out a hand to touch her and she shrugs it away.

He rolls onto his back and closes his eyes. He tries to see it all again: the sunlight on the lake, the blue sky, the cliffs of Mt. Kineo topped with pine. Maine, he thinks. Summer.

By Jeffrey Condran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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