It’s been a while… here’s Part 1.
I awoke with a start to the flapping sound of wings. The gull that had been digging though the crumbs of my basket, scared by some shift of the wind, rose high into the air above my boat.
I immediately thrust my head over the side to look for what I both hoped and dreaded to see. But there was nothing more than water bugs and sediment, ripples from the breeze. I felt relief, but under that a curious disappointment.
My attention quickly changed when I realized I’d been on the lake much longer than I’d planned, and that there was no doubt a group of concerned family members wondering where I was and why dinner wasn’t ready. Only briefly did I worry about knocking anything – or anyone – in the head with my paddle as I made my way to the beach.
The familiar white sand softened and cleaned my feet as I pulled the boat onto shore. The hem of my skirt, loosened from the knots I’d made in an attempt to keep the garment clean, hung heavy with lake water and slapped at my legs. I collected the few fish I’d caught and the empty lunch basket, and hurried to the trail that would bring me to camp.
Glad to see that I hadn’t caused much concern or delay, I approached the busy and chattering crowd that was my family. As I came closer, I noticed a stranger in the group. He was a small, quiet looking man. The thing I noticed most about him was the concentrated way he was staring at the fish I held, almost as if they frightened him a little. I caught his eye for only a moment before Fintan came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist.
“And just where have you been all afternoon, wife?” he murmured in my ear. I forgot the stranger as I turned to smile at my husband.