In the early Spring of 1970, it was time to return to the log cabin and prepare it for summer. It was torture. Everything reminded me of dad: His fishing rod hanging in the tool shed, his shoes sitting at the door in the cabin just as he left them the previous fall, a book left open on the arm of his chair. It was like plunging a dagger into my chest.
I took dad's boat out on the lake and went to a secluded little cove where I often fished with him. The water was cold, clear and still. Dead brushes from the previous year lined the shore. Birds chirped in trees celebrating a new Spring. Then I heard a loon's lonesome call in the distance and I collapsed on the floor of the boat and sobbed. I don’t know how long I laid there. All I remember was crying until there were no more tears to shed. Looking up at the sky, I wondered if Dad could see me. I whispered “How will I carry on without you?”
The day she flew to Alberta. I was a bundle of nerves. When her grandparents went to get her from the airport, I watched from my bedroom window. When they arrived back, LaRee got out of their car unaware I was watching her. It was like seeing a movie star. She stood mere feet away. Somewhere deep in my heart a small flame of hope was lit. Was she the one to drive back my crushing sorrow with the magic of romance? After all, we were only seventeen. Did I need love too much to be loved? Self-doubt made me afraid that my desperate heart would chase her away.
She could be the missing piece of my life and my desperate heart ached for her to love me. But could she? Would she? Hearts too desperate for love often chase love away. Could she love a desperate heart? Was her heart desperate for love too? Was she the light I hoped for or was she just a summer flame that would extinguish in September after she went back east? Would I hear that mournful loon cry again when LaRee left at the end of summer?