Picture Credits: Luca Maffeis

Fiction, Short fiction, Short story


Oindrila Gupta, December 7, 2022

There is no air conditioning. And no Wi-Fi. If that hasn’t scared you away, then walk in through the screen door and let it slam shut. In the silver blue porch room, step past the ugly black bear coffee table that remains very unpopular but extremely useful. Kick off your shoes because you won’t need them, ever. The greatest compliment, at the end of the day, is dirty feet.

You’ll enter the great room with its soaring wood ceilings the colour of caramel. The beams are filled in with decorative oars, the souvenirs of summer camps from long ago. Cousins who were campers went on to become counsellors and the world of bonfire songs, lunch bells, and canoeing at midnight are all wrapped up in those oars.

There are old board games covered in tears and decks of cards on the mantel in fresh cellophane. Lamps pepper every surface so there is always a spot that glows. Chairs are placed in social circles and, thoughtfully, the darkened corners as well. Wherever you want to go, you’ll go. Wrap up in a fleece or just lounge in a swimsuit with spiky, sun-dried hair.

Let your eyes travel to the gray and lavender stacked stones of the fireplace but note the time capsule of the room – the great grandfather’s ukulele perched on the wall, antique candlesticks on the credenza, the collection of records under the side table (no record player to be found), and the tiny, plastic-boxed games that involve swishing metal ball bearings in patterns. Wilted paperback books with broken spines are perfect for flopping in antique wooden chairs with woven cushions that have been stuffed and restuffed and restuffed again.

When your feet pad into the kitchen on thin cotton rugs, you will grab a heavy stoneware mug in cornflower blue. Stand at the sage green countertop while the crispest water spills from the tap and courses coldly down your throat. Cities don’t know water like this.

Golden ribbons of corn in their stalks fill the countertops. Packages of hot dogs and brats from a tiny butcher shop, only accessible by boat, are getting prepped for the grill. Little dishes of thick red and yellow sauces, along with chopped pickles and purple onion, pepper the space. Don’t forget the celery salt with the red cap. Someone will have to run back up for the citronella candle. Someone else will have run back up to retrieve the silly hats.

In the morning there are sounds of loons and a gentle urging of fishing boats. Rise whenever. Brush your teeth half asleep. Keep your hairbrush packed away. Wiggle your flesh into a swimsuit and walk languid down the stairs, through the kitchen, and toward the dock. Your feet will awake with the chill of the stone steps and errant pine needles will attach to your heels. Sit in the swaying chair and breathe in the air of August as waves seek your feet.

The water will figure everything out for you.



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