At the end of the Pier

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Her dad built a cabin right off of the lake. Every year after she was done school, they would spend two weeks in the summer there. It was where she discovered she loved listening to the waves wash up onto the tiny private beach. She spend a lot of time sitting and thinking on the pier until it was so dark, you couldn’t see where you were walking. Good thing she knew the pier, or she would have ended up in the lake. And that water was cold.

Audrey is looking forward to going to the cabin. She needs the getaway to figure some things out. Her boyfriend Dennis, who was the love of her life, went missing while he went hiking in Europe. It has been six months and detectives have no leads or motives to explain the disappearance. He was an avid hiker and has hiked throughout Europe. So he was familiar with the surroundings.With each passing day, Audrey is losing hope that he will be found. She hated when he would hike by himself. This was her worse fear come to life.

Penelope, her best friend since grade school,  would drag Audrey out of her apartment and take her shopping or out to lunch or dinner. She didn’t want Audrey to hide away and dwell on this tragedy. Penny as Audrey would call her, she felt bad for her and wanted to help. But there was nothing anyone could do since there were no witnesses that saw him. Penny knew he  would turn into a cold case. But she didn’t tell her that. She would just let Audrey cry it out when she needed to, and yell and scream when she was frustrated and in so much pain. Penny would even bring her chocolate cheesecake and they would sit and watch silly movies and laugh til they cried. She has been Audrey’s saving grace and has helped her keep what sanity she has left.

They were out to dinner last night and Penny offered to go to the cabin with her, but Audrey wants to be alone. She needs the peace and quiet to mourn the loss and to find a way to let go and start over. “I just need some time Pen, maybe towards the end of the week, I will call or text you to let you know how i’m doing.” Penny didn’t look convinced, “Aud, I will let you have all the time you need to be alone. I just want to make sure that you eat and you get rest. Remember, I know you, when you get upset you don’t eat or sleep well.” Audrey reached across the table and reassured her, “I will be fine. I do my best thinking sitting on the edge of the pier and listen to the waves. It calms me. I really will be fine.”Before Penny let it go, she said, “I will have a cheesecake on stand by in the freezer.” Audrey chuckled and sat back in her seat.

It was early Saturday morning, Audrey was finishing up packing her clothes. She zipped up the suite case and put it by the front door. Then she went into the kitchen to grab her mug for tea, the canister of tea bags and splenda. She put all the items in a tote bag and then went to the cabinet to grab some snacks. When she had the tote filled with all that she wanted to take, she took that and carried it to the front door. She didn’t want to bring her computer because she wanted to just relax and figure out things without any distractions. She put her cell phone charger in her purse, but would only use her cell for when she kept in touch with Penny. She took one last look around to see if she had everything. Satisfied, she picked up the suite case and tote bag and slung her purse on her shoulder and out the door she went. Since she will stop and the grocery store on the way to the cabin, she made a list on her cell of what she wanted to get for the cabin.

The grocery store wasn’t busy, so she got everything on her list and was out to the car in no time. Once she put the bags of groceries in the back seat, she put on the radio and was on her way a few miles to the cabin. She was singing her heart out. She made sure it was a station that played a lot of upbeat happy songs. If a slower song was coming on, she would change the station. Not much traffic was on the road, so it was a peaceful and easy ride.

The sun was starting to set when she pulled up the drive to the cabin. She sat in the car for a minute and let happy memories from when she was young come over her. Audrey could almost smell her dad cooking chicken on the grill by the picnic bench. And her mom singing along to the radio as she sat in her lounge chair sipping iced tea. Before she had to set the table for dinner. Audrey would be playing down at the few yards of beach she had to herself. It was good times.

After she lugged everything inside and put it all away. She went outside and walked to the end of the pier. She stood here with her head back and eyes closed and just breathed in the smell of the salt water. And listened to the waves roll up onto the beach. This is what she needed. She looked over at the sunset for a few minutes, then went back inside to eat some dinner. Audrey took a picture of her dinner and sent it to Penny. With the caption, ‘see? I am eating’. When dinner was done and dishes cleaned and put away. She made herself a cup of tea and sat on the couch and enjoyed sitting in the silence. Her parents didn’t put a tv in the cabin. It was a place to relax and unwind with peace and quiet and no distractions from home. There was a phone. But Audrey unplugged it from the jack. She didn’t want anyone calling her this weekend. She would call them.

It was getting dark and she was tired from the drive up there. So, she went to the bedroom, changed into pajamas and slid into bed and doesn’t remember falling asleep. Audrey was afraid to sleep at first, she thought Dennis would invade her dreams and she would be awake all night. Luckily that didn’t happen, she had a good night sleep and woke up refreshed in the morning. She looked out the window after she woke up , and it was a beautiful day. Audrey made her usual morning cup of tea and then when out to the pier in her pajamas and just looked out to the open lake. Slowly thoughts of Dennis were creeping into her mind. Not bad thoughts, but thoughts of the times that they shared. She wished he could have come up here with her, but he never got the chance. He would have loved it here. He would have been out on a boat all day, just driving up and down the lake. She smiled a warm smile at that thought.

Sitting on the edge of the pier with her mug in her hand. Memories started to come back and she let them come over her. Their first date. Dennis took her bowling. Neither one of them were good bowlers. Before they started, he said, “every time one of us gets a strike, we give each other a kiss.” She laughed and joked, ” well, I guess no kisses for you.” He bowled two strikes, she learned that he was a good kisser. She didn’t get any strikes, but they ended up kissing each other a lot anyway. Another memory was when she took him home to meet her parents. He had an instant connection with her dad. They had a lot in common. And her mother thought he was so sweet. And Dennis treated Audrey like a queen, so that one a lot of points with them. They treated him like family right away.

When it was time, she stood up and began with her good bye. She closed her eyes and silently said the words in her mind believing that he would hear her. She felt he heard her every time the breeze would blow. As if it was a hug telling her it’s ok, keeping going, I love you. When she was done, the only words she said out loud were, ” I love you, and I will miss you. You will always be a part of me. Good bye my love. Sleep sweet.” Then she turned and slowly walked back up to the cabin. And called Penny.

Penny answered on the second ring, “you ok?” Aubrey shook her head, “yes I am fine. I feel a lot better. Thank you for understanding I needed to do the alone. I love you so much for that.” Penny smiled and responded, ” That is what friends are for, and I have a chocolate cheesecake in the freezer for when you get back.” Audrey laughed because Penny always knew when to break out the cheesecake.

Sunday morning, she was all packed and closed up the cabin. Heading to the car, she took one last look towards the lake and smiled. Confirming that everything will be ok and she can move on with no regrets.

 One Year Later

Audrey is on a lunch date with Charles. He is a friend of a friend of Penny’s. Audrey was hesitant to go on the blind date, but she was moving on and trying new things. So she agreed. So far the date is going good. He isn’t weird or checking his phone. They seem to be enjoying each others company. They like the same movies and music. He has a great sense of humor and makes her laugh. When lunch is done, Charles reaches for the check and pays for lunch. Audrey gets up and grabs her purse to head to the door, Charles follows her. They stand out by her car and chat for a bit. Audrey says, ” I had a lovely time, thank you for lunch, next time I will pay, if you would like to go out again.” Charles smiles and doesn’t have to think about it. He is attracted to her a lot. He likes everything about her. He shakes his head yes and responds, ” yes , I would love to go out with you again. And you don’t have to pay, I don’t mind. It’s the gentleman thing to do. But, if you insist, I won’t be offended.” She smiles and wraps her arms around his neck and gives him a hug. He wraps his arms around her waist. As he pulls away, he gives her a kiss on the cheeks and says good bye.

When Audrey gets home, she will thank Penny for this date. It took awhile, but Audrey is finally happy and open to new and exciting possibilities.

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