Fiction Friday – The Lake House

 The Lake House is the last house in my Habakkuk, or Spoon River of Houses, line up.  All of these posts can be found at Fiction-Friday.  Next week I will do the wrap up.

Fiction Friday will continue.  I am writing short bits of fiction and will be sorting through them, editing and posting as always.  So, don’t go away.

Lake House

I am a Lake House.  A summer house is generally limited in its occupation by people to the late spring early autumn months.  Memorial Day to Labor Day.

 

I am occupied at various times all year round.  The folks who use me come by on the major holidays.  In the summer time reflected fire works on the lake are very spectacular.

 

Columbus Day is one of the rare exceptions to holiday visiting.

 

Thanksgiving, Christmas through New Years, Spring Break each has its mood and tone.

 

At thanksgiving and Christmas my walls enclose a family.  Grandchildren great-grandchildren, the assorted parents and Uncles and Aunts, new girl and boy friends, come in at this time of year too.

 

Everyone brings baggage.  The disagreements usually occur in my upper reaches where not everyone sees the dirty laundry.  Usually it is a parent who disapproves of the new ‘important other’ in a son or daughter’s life.  They all manage to get to the table and celebrate the event at hand.

 

One year during a Christmas to New Year’s event, a lake effect snow buried me and my family.  They laid in all of their supplies and it was only the road that was impassible.

 

It was during this time that the family broke out in huge cabin fever madness.

 

It wasn’t a big thing, no one was murdered.

 

James, who is known outside of family gatherings as Jimmy, brought a new girl.  She was at least half his age and looked just like his daughter who was also present.

 

The girl was named Maddy and the resemblance was too much to bear.

 

The Maddy woman had not met the family, none of them.  I think it is a bad idea to spring a new lover to a house filled with ingrained entrenched family.  It is always a difficult thing for everyone.

 

You should have seen the shocked exchanges of looks between family members.  The new girl didn’t figure it out at first.  She knew the age difference was going to come up and was prepared to deal with it.  She had a thick skin after all.

 

She was also the sixth woman that Jimmy had brought to family events.  It was another thing she was prepared to work through or shrug off.  She would be his fourth wife if things worked out and in her heart she knew she was not heading into a forever thing.  Guys who have gone through three wives are not the best bet for happily ever after.

 

There were courteous hugs, air kisses and ‘pleased to meet yous.’  Then came the big reveal.

 

Natalie came into the room and Maddy knew at once what the big deal was and the shock nearly buckled the poor girl’s knees.

 

It was a mirror image from the fun house.

 

 

The new woman, Maddy, lived up to her name in that moment.  Well, the next moment, after she picked her jaw up off the floor.

 

But it was too late, the snow had already begun to fall, a lake effect snow and it was tumbling down like a movie set snow.

 

It had begun snowing at least an hour before the couple arrived and the last few miles down toward the lake were downright frightening.  The woman, Maddy, knew there was nothing to do at this point but to accept the stares of the strangers.

 

Maddy tried to make the best of it and excused herself to the bathroom.  She might be able to gather her wits and begin to chat with the family.  She didn’t know if she should be angry with Jimmy or feel freaked out that he might actually be one of those incestually motivated lunatics.  If she didn’t handle it right, the next few days of being penned in with all of them were going to be the longest days in history.

 

She peed, studied herself in the mirror and shook off the creepiness of it all and came downstairs.

 

She got a proper introduction to Jimmy’s daughter and helped herself to the wet bar.

 

Jimmy tried rather sheepishly to make some demented amends.  He said he was sorry, that he had never noticed before this day the resemblance.  The almost mirror image of his daughter.  He even went as far as to admit he too was slightly creeped out by the turn of events.

 

Then he took his drink and headed off into the recesses of my further rooms.

 

In the end, the days were as long as Maddy imagined they would be.  She played board games with the family and insisted on not taking a room with James.  She never spoke to him again.

 

This was the last year that Jimmy showed up.  He left right after Maddy got a ride with one of the Uncles and his wife.

 

Natalie, the daughter, was out of there too, at her first opportunity.

 

The family for the most part survived the holiday and those who remained had a really jubilant new year.  The awkward days of that winter vacation at the lake house were soon repressed by most.  I am sure the couple called it quits.

 

James came back several years later and this time he was James.  He had no trophy bride or girlfriend on his arm.  Natalie, his daughter, had gotten married, had three babies and regrettably had kept her baby fat.  It was as though family life had swallowed her whole.  James no longer drank at family events.  He did have an eye for one of the light haired children playing tag and hide and seek.  No one noticed and from the way I saw it, just as before, Jimmy didn’t see it either.

 

Maybe some people can’t help themselves.

Lake House

Come back next week to Fiction Friday and Don’t touch anything Sharp!

By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.