There is a boat, it sits by the edge of the lake throughout the autumn and the winter. The boat has no oars – it just sits on the edge of the lake as the seasons come and the seasons pass. The lake is a reflection of the trees that surround it. Falling brown and falling yellow.

A lone fisherman is on his boat in the middle of the lake, waiting for the day to end so he can go back home and tell his wife that he went to work.

The country Doctor is walking from his cabin to his office, just up the way across from Dana’s Diner on Main Street. He’s been in practice for over 30 years and is the doctor for all the residents of this small town having brought the majority of them into this world.

His nurse is already one hour in the office with a cold cup of black coffee by her side she smiles and greets the doctor.

The lone fisherman places his hand in the water and feels the grimy residue of a lake filled with memories from the summers past. When music would play, when boys and girls would lose their tops and their innocence as the water turned a shady hue of brown and blue.

The country Doctor sits by his desk, “No patients today, yet.” He says to himself and then a voice from the other room.

“Dotty Manning is coming in, she fell off her bicycle and may have broken her foot.”

“Oh Dotty.” If he gave out points for each visit, she would be hitting the million mark by now. Not an accomplishment worth bragging about, but one nonetheless.

The 808 train is pulling into the platform, into the city of Old Memphis, New York. Old man Joseph is greeting it and you can see his head bobbing up and down as if searching for someone who cannot be found.

The boat, by the edge of the lake shakes a bit, then settles back into its inertia.

Daisy is standing over by the boardwalk which ends 50 feet into the lake. She is watching the lone fisherman and the wonders if he has ever caught anything in this lake.

Caren comes behind her and embraces her across her chest, kiss on the cheek and a gesture to follow her.

David is getting dressed and running to take the 808, which leaves at 822 back to the city.

Geri is watching the morning through the window of her 1998 Jeep Cherokee and wondering why the previous evening was so hurtful to her. The memories of her husband left her cold and the need to leave the bed, the room and the house where they had once lived.

Joey runs across the street and jumps into his mustang, turns the key, lowers the volume of the radio, pulls across the seatbelt and roars off, somewhere.

There is that boat, it sits by the edge of the lake, on the Roqueyomom side, which gets the sun in the morning and the frost at night. It has no oars and no motor. It’s sits alone with only the air of the lake impacting it. The water it sits on is softly nibbling on it, leading it to eventual decay. It’s made of wood, once painted white, once painted black; now the color is worn out wood.  

Daisy smiles as Caron pushes a cup of coffee towards her and their dog, a seven-year old labrador retriever named Bobo, slowly walks into their camp. Caren turns and her hair covers her face for a split second while Daisy gets into position to embrace Bobo.

A storm is brewing, you can feel it in the air.

The lone fisherman twitches and pulls up his pole.

Caron nudges Daisy and they both watch the fisherman wrestling with his pole in a duel to the death.

The country Doctor wraps up Dotty’s ankle and tells her, “No break, it’s a sprain, keep it elevated and let’s see how it feels in a couple of days.”

David is in the city already as the storm begins to drop pellets from the sky.

Joey is first pulling out of Danielle when he hears the door open in the kitchen entrance. The 1102 is pulling as Joey runs out the front door, rounds the corner and jumps into his getaway car.

The lone fisherman is walking now through the grassy knoll of Olivagood One Park. He tosses his bag and pole into the back of his truck; opens the door and sits behind the wheel.

The country Doctor is walking along Main Street to the Children’s Hospital on 12th Street and Vine; while Caron and Daisy walk by they smile and greet the good Doctor with smiles as Bobo simply walks on by smelling the grass.

Joey drives by and gives a tap honk to the ladies while the fisherman pulls out of the park and the day comes to a slow end.

Geri is there when David arrives on the 711 and they walk together to “Dana’s Diner” to meet her sister Dotty and her husband, Bill, the lone fisherman.

The boat is moored to the edge of the lake as a flock of geese touchdown across the lake in perfect vee formation. A young boy skims a pebble onto the water and counts the skips and hops. He is accompanied by his grandmother, the wife of the country doctor, who leads him back to his house overlooking the lake.

She is a beautiful woman in her 70’s and elegant and spry as when she was in her prime years. Her daughter is the mother of the young boy and his brother, Joey, who pulls into the driveway and sits alone for a moment thinking about his day. Nods and thinks to himself that he must move on and not look back.

In the darkness, if you close your eyes you can hear the songs from years past; the splashing from the swimmers, the laughter from the summers from so long ago. The sounds of panting, crying and conversations. The optimism of the youth and the innocence…now gone. The lake is polluted with memories of the past that are long gone. Perhaps that is what the fisherman was hoping to catch as he sits upon his boat day after day. Some sort of proof of youth? A lost love? Broken hopes and dreams?

He’ll be there in the morning, bag and pole in tow. Fishing for some proof from a lake stuffed with his story, history.

 

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