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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 39 page 12


“Wow. Pancakes, sausages, orange juice and a small chocolate brownie. I’m not sure I can eat all this,” I said.

“Sure you can. I figure you’re six feet tall. You weigh about a hundred and seventy-five pounds. Am I right?”

“Almost. I’m six one and one eighty.” I was in good shape, worked out regularly and kept my auburn hair short. “So let me guess, you work in a carnival.”

“No, I’m a dietician.”

I focused my attention on the meal in front of me, looking up from time to time to see the lake. It was set in woodlands mostly of white and red pine. The heady fragrance of pine was everywhere, overwhelming the aroma of the food I was eating.

I was reaching for my dessert when Trudy pulled it away. “Wait,” she said. “That’s a hash brownie. If you eat it, in an hour you won’t know your pancakes from your orange juice.”

This was a pleasant surprise. I had a lot to learn about this woman.

“Well, if you join me I don’t mind trying it,” I said.

“Good idea, I’ll get one for myself.” Off she went and then returned with her brownie and fresh coffees.

By now it was getting on to eleven. The sun was out in full force. A pair of crows landed high on a branch a hundred yards from us. They began to caw. We moved to a shady spot under a large yellow birch and sat close to each other. She leaned her head on my shoulder. The minutes passed. A sugary dullness enveloped me as the brownie gently made itself felt.

I kissed her. She did not protest. Holding hands we took a dozen steps into the woods. There I kissed her again then helped her undress. We made love again and again. The rest is a blur. At some point I fell asleep in my bed. In the evening Trudy came and woke me up. She kissed me deep and long then whispered, “Shush, come downstairs.”

The touch of her sweet lips set my heart ablaze. For a moment I had a vision of Trudy and me trying out various Kama Sutra positions. I put on my clothes and made my way toward the living room.

Everyone was back, busy doing something. In the dining room the table was being set by the two teenage boys and the little girl. They teased one another but got the job done. The kitchen had three cooks, Mable, Trudy and Stewart. Mother, daughter and son were working as a team. Salads were being made. A sponge cake was in the oven.

A telephone rang. It was an ancient phone attached to the wall next to the refrigerator. I had not noticed it before.

“It’s for Bill,” Mable said to no one in particular. She walked to the screen door and yelled, “Bill, phone.”

The middle-aged man temporarily abandoned the fish he was broiling on the barbeque outside. On the phone he had a brief discussion about a new roof for the cottage, then he returned to his cooking.

“How’s your bed?” Garret asked. “The mattress is new.”

“Oh, it’s great,” I answered, wondering if he knew about me and Trudy.

Having helped arrange the dishes and cutlery for supper the little girl moved to the dining room floor. She took out crayons and colouring books. Circling her was the old dog, panting.

I sat down on a long sofa that faced the unlit fireplace, closed my eyes and felt my body relax. It had been less than twenty-four hours since I’d arrived at Snow Lake but already the experience changed everything for me. I was at peace.

The phone rang again. Mable picked up the receiver. “Here, Trudy, it’s for you. It’s Al,” I heard her say.

The little girl jumped up and ran to Trudy. “Mommy, Mommy, let me talk with Daddy. Please, please!”

“Just a minute,” Trudy said.

Mable turned to her daughter, “Ask Al to bring Saturday’s Globe and Mail with him when he comes up tomorrow, okay?”