While my husband and our second son gallivant around town, I retreat to a quiet table on a floating dock.
I order a glass of Chardonnay and coconut shrimp and set to scribbling notes on the few sheets of paper that I attained from the young guy at the Marina desk.
The sun is high above my umbrella, the day crystal clear, and the mountain range across the great expanse of Lake Champlain–a sea of waves unto itself.
This is perfect therapy for saying goodbye to a son; better than all those last minute searches at Wal-mart and Home Depot and Bed, Bath & Beyond with the throngs of other parents of college freshmen.
I decide that before we leave town–and our first born–the rest of us will take the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory tour!
A thin, blue dragonfly lands on my table and reminds me of my calling. I fold a second piece of paper once, and then again, so that there are 4 boxes into which I can, somewhat privately, collect my emerging thoughts.
When I have filled an entire side of the sheet, I unfold it and flip it to the opposite side, folding it up once more. I ask my server for a glass of water. I scoop out some of the ice and drop it into my wine. I am almost buoyant.
Just then I hear: “I think we should move here, Dad.”
I look up to see a boy about the age of my second son, 13, standing beside his father who has stepped up to the bar. I recognize the longing in the boy’s voice. I’ve heard in my husband’s today as he raves about the Champlain Valley, as if to say the same: “Let’s move here.”
I don’t hear what the father replies to the boy, but I sense it in his mother’s face as she approaches him. She is beautiful, but her cheeks look hollowed. She attempts a smile at her husband and she brushes her hand against his cheek while he leans over to kiss his son on the forehead. From behind, a small girl with long brown curls wraps her arms around her father’s waist and rests her head against his back.
I wipe tears from my folded paper as their family limps away.