When Lives Collide
Frank had visited a few of his friends among the full-time residents but now he was at a loss what to do with his time. Although it was a little early, he decided to take his floats off and put his plane on wheels for the winter. This required taxiing down the lake and stopping adjacent to the Golden Valley aerodrome. After arriving he retrieved his special trailer from the hanger. Using the airport ATV he backed it into the water under the floats. He tied the floats to the trailer, pulled the plane out of the water and put it in the hangar. It was time for lunch. He started the three-mile walk back to the house.
After lunch, he decided he didn’t feel like finishing the float job today, so he would go down to his dock, sit in the shade by the water and read a novel, called ‘Twogether’, that he found engrossing. It was not possible to see his dock from the house because of a ridge. He walked down to the ridge and started down the steps not paying much attention. When he arrived at the bottom near the dock he was surprised to see a young female lying face down on a towel under his giant umbrella.
“Well, hello!” he said.
She had not been sleeping and was up and did a perfect dive into the water and swam at a brisk pace until she got to the neighbour’s dilapidated dock where she hauled out and disappeared without ever looking back.
Now that was strange Frank thought. Her parents had probably warned her not to go on someone else’s dock. Frank sat down and read his novel but his mind kept slipping back to the unusual meeting he had just had. He hoped that someone would appear on the other dock but after a couple of hours; he had seen no one, so he headed up to the house.
He was concerned about what the child might say to her parents and he thought he should take some affirmative action. Knowing that the neighbours seemed to want privacy he decided a note with a jar of his homemade maple syrup might do the job. He carefully wrote a note that said;
“I apologize for frightening your daughter when she was sunning on my dock. Please use my dock whenever you wish. I have included a jar of maple syrup which I and others in the neighbourhood made last spring and hope it will repair any fences that may have been broken.
He walked over and put it on the porch. He was going to ring but thought that might be an invasion of their privacy, so he left it. When he returned home, he looked out the window and was surprised to see the note and syrup gone from the porch.
After dark there was a knock on his door but when he answered there was no one there. But at his feet was a gift-wrapped box. He brought it into the house and opened it. There was a lemon pie in the bottom and a note which said,
“I apologize for using your dock without permission. When I saw the plane go away, I thought no one would be home. I know you didn’t intend to, but you frightened me. Please accept my apology.
The following day Frank decided he couldn’t postpone any longer going to town to stock up on supplies. He arrived home in the afternoon and went down to the dock to see if anyone was sunning. No one was there, but he realized the girl’s towel was still on the dock. He picked it up and went back to the house. He needed to do laundry anyway, so he did her towel with his.
The “note” communication with the neighbours seemed to be acceptable, so he put pen to paper and said,
“I found your daughter’s towel on my dock and wanted to return it. I have laundered it so it is clean and ready for her next visit to my dock. If it is not too invasive into your privacy would you consider joining me for a barbecue one lunchtime at your convenience? If you would prefer to maintain some distance I understand.
He placed the towel in a plastic bag with the note, walked over to their door and hung it on the doorknob. When he got home, he looked out the window and as before the bag was gone.
Frank waited expectantly that evening for the knock on the door. He even left the porch light on for safety but nothing happened. Oops, he thought. I was too pushy. However, when he was going out the door to go to his workshop, the next morning he noticed a letter stuck to the door’s window.
Thank you for laundering my towel. That was kind. How many people will come to the barbecue?
Hmm! That is very strange. Why aren’t the parents involved? Now he was committed. He needed to respond to her question.
Whatever your family is comfortable with. I can invite a dozen people from around the lake or just myself if you prefer.
The response was immediate and shocked Frank. How did she get onto and off my porch in daylight without me catching her?
I would prefer that it was just you and I will be coming alone since my parents can’t make it. Would tomorrow be OK?
This was strange and Frank didn’t know how he would carry on a conversation for long with a girl of fifteen. However, he was once again committed, so he wrote back.
Tomorrow will be fine. Come over about noon and I will have the barbecue warmed up and ready to go. Are you going to tell me your name or will I have to call you The Daughter during lunch?
In the morning he found a note with no envelope taped to his door’s window and all it said was,
He had the barbecue heating when he suddenly heard a slight cough behind him. He turned and saw not a fifteen year old but a drop dead gorgeous woman walking toward him with her hand out.
“Hi Nancy.” Frank stammered, embarrassed as his voice betrayed him as he shook her hand. He felt like a fifteen year old male.
She laughed and said, “I guess you figured out I am perhaps older than you thought based on the glimpse you had of me at your dock.”
“Well, I was thinking fifteen BUT it was a quick glance from a distance.”
“I live alone and like my privacy,” she said.
“If you ever find me too invasive, Nancy, please say something.”
“I will,” she responded, “but I doubt that will be necessary. I have noted that you live alone and doubtless understand people’s need for privacy.”
The conversation felt natural for both of them and the lunch stretched into the afternoon. Frank thought for a supposed loner she was very talkative like a person who had been deprived of contact with others.
Nancy quickly figured out that Frank was smart, but she did not understand just how clever and educated he was. Over the afternoon he had figured out that she was highly educated in the sciences with a lot of biology related courses. Questions he asked were turned around, and he was quizzed about his life. This very nice lady was hiding something. Frank didn’t know what it was nor did he really care. She was pleasant to talk to and fun to look at. She volunteered that due to an inheritance she had enough money she didn’t have to work. He told her what a great and friendly community they lived in, and he would be glad to introduce her to the neighbourhood and get her involved in some of the many activities available. A cold chill suddenly entered their conversation. She said she would prefer her privacy. She thanked him and was suddenly gone. Whatever Nancy was hiding Frank decided might be bigger than just wanting privacy.
A week went by with no notes or contact. He didn’t see her out in her yard or down at the dock.
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