A journal of narrative writing.
The Lodge
Page 2

They slink down a dark gravel path, avoiding a puddle of water and, as they get closer, flecks of broken shingles from a blistered roof. They are headed for a long green cabin with dusty windows and a wobbly porch, a bulwark against the wild forest and the growth that would swallow, if unhindered, all the cabins as it grows towards the point.

They slip behind the bunkhouse, where green paint chips peel off the boards, and long fingers of a maple tree scratch at the eaves. Here their hands meet, and for the first time, hold. This meeting is the culmination of a week's worth of waiting, and a lifetime of anticipation. They both know, but neither will admit, that this is the first time either of them have been alone with a boy or a girl, or even approached what their parents have warned them about love.

As they are about to lean into each other for their first kiss, Tyler and Suzan hear a shuffle and a squeak. They lean against the building with worried faces. Will they be caught? The shuffling continues, followed by the whisper of human voices. Susan tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, while Tyler tilts his neck towards the sound and steps gingerly to a window. He lifts the underside of a pine branch and peeks through the glass.

Darkness. Together they shuffle down the length of the building, wipe dirt from a window with the back of their hands. The lights are on, but no one is inside. They shuffle to the next window, and their eyes grow wide at the faint things moving in the half-light.

Two staff members, a man and a woman, are naked. They are young and their bodies are beautiful, hers golden from a splash of moonlight, his a dark shadow hovering over her. There are drops of sweat on his shoulders, and the woman's hair is spread against the white cotton of her pillowcase.

Butterflies dance in Tyler's gut. He thinks of camp counsellors in horror movies where young men are lured into dark cabins by their desire, and never return. Suzan's toes tingle as she thinks of high school sweethearts, a first date, a summer fling and a kiss in the rain.

Through this dusty cabin window, Tyler and Suzan realise they are watching the logical progression of how they feel for one another, and though this wild tangling of bodies makes them cry out for a desire they don't yet possess and never knew existed, they see how, maybe, they are like them. How they smile and laugh and enjoy each other's company, and how much they would sacrifice in order to be alone together.

As the lovers mingle among the sheets, and turn their faces towards the moonlight, however, it becomes immediately apparent just who they are watching. And although this nakedness has discarded any confusion Tyler and Suzan might have had of their identity, it is strange to see them like this. They know their hometowns, the universities they attend, their plans for the future.

Music filters through the trees. The dance has started above the boat house. They know they should be elsewhere: Tyler refilling punch bowls for the tipsy guests, Suzan holding her mother's hand or slow-dancing on her father's feet as he twirls her around the dance floor. Instead they lean against each other as the lovemaking continues inside. Tyler feels a swelling under his shorts, and Suzan bites her lip. Their bodies are swarming as they watch Will push softly inside Julie, hold, then collapse into her arms.

Tyler and Suzan retreat back to the dim porch lights, the noise, the rumpus of The Lodge. A cool breeze from the lake sends goose bumps down their arms, a reminder that this is the last weekend of summer. In a few days they will be staring at a chalkboard and thinking back to this place. The docks will be empty, the bunkhouse abandoned. A few staff members will linger for another week, helping to board up the windows and flush out the plumbing, while the boats are dragged out of the water and flipped on their backs, soon to be smothered by snow.

They have a little time left, however, and during their walk Tyler and Suzan wonder silently if this is their first love, here, at the tail end of a summer they will always remember, after witnessing an event they will never forget. Maybe they will write letters to each other, or meet next summer when their parents return, or even, years from now, find each other at spring orientation to become The Lodge's summer counsellors.

But maybe they will never meet again, only think of each other, briefly, as they go through life.

The dance goes late into the night. Under the boathouse porch, in the glow of citronella candles, hearing the tapping of dance steps and the mingle of conversation, Tyler and Suzan sit beside each other, feeling the music shudder the boathouse walls. They skip stones into the water with lazy tosses, tiny waves licking rocks at their feet, and as the DJ announces the last song of the night, Tyler and Suzan lean into each other, just barely knowing what kind of future their bodies can bring.