Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: WEEKEND AWAY (short vacation) (07/23/15)
TITLE: The Strangers In Cabin Four
By Leola Ogle
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High school sweethearts – such an adorable couple. Alex shared with Jenny his dreams of college. Jenny’s dream was for a home, a husband, and babies. As the day for high school graduation approached, it was clear they would get married. Both families insisted. So, they had a simple, beautiful wedding that summer.
Three babies in four years took its toll on Jenny. It wasn’t the fairy tale she had imagined. Endless diapers and feedings, sleepless nights, and frazzled emotions. Jenny and Alex loved their children, they just ceased to love each other. Jenny didn’t care anymore. Alex certainly didn’t seem to care either. Resignation dulled her senses. She trudged through the days with lethargic indifference. She tried on several occasions to talk to Alex about their marriage, but some distraction always ended the conversation before it got started.
So why would she want to spend a weekend with Alex in a secluded cabin on a lake? It was a seventh anniversary gift from Alex’s parents. Jenny insisted Alex take some buddies and make a fishing trip out of it, but then her parents offered to babysit. In fact, they were adamant about it. If Jenny didn’t know better, she would swear it was a conspiracy between both sets of parents. Did they know their marriage was dying?
“Three days in the woods,” Jenny lamented to her mother. “I’m not the outdoorsy type. I’ll be bored to tears.”
“Nonsense, Jenny. Catch up on the sleep you complain you never get. Read. Start a journal. You’ve always loved to write. It’ll be relaxing.”
Was that disappointment in Alex’s eyes when Jenny told him she’d be going with him and not his buddies? She wasn’t any more thrilled than he was. They could ignore each other all weekend. They were good at that.
As they drove into the lake area late Friday afternoon, Jenny admitted the view was breathtaking. There were several cabins scattered around the lake. There’s was cabin four.
“There’s no television?” Jenny asked in astonishment, surveying the cabin.
“No.” Alex rolled his eyes. “Is this all the food you brought?” Alex pointed to a bag of snack items. “What will we do for supper?”
Jenny still wasn’t over the shock of no television. “I wasn’t told to bring food. Well, go catch a fish for supper, oh mighty outdoorsman.”
Alex stomped off and within an hour, he had a fish grilling over an open fire. “Can’t cook it inside since you didn’t bring butter or oil,” he said through clenched teeth.
Jenny wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of telling him how delicious the fish was. “We can drive into town in the morning to buy food,” she murmured.
They did drive into town the next morning. Jenny was showing smug Alex that she, too, could fish. The fish she caught was Alex’s hand when she flung the fishing pole in the air. Alex had to have the hook removed at a clinic in town before they could buy groceries.
By afternoon, they were glaring and snapping at each other. That wasn’t unusual, but now they had nothing else to divert their attention. “I’m done. We’re leaving in the morning,” Alex snarled. “Fine with me,” Jenny shot back.
The next morning, Alex told Jenny to drive the truck nearer the cabin so they could load it. Jenny did. As she exited the truck, Alex screamed and flapped his arms. In horror, Jenny saw the truck rolling down the incline to the lake. Not used to Alex’s truck, she forgot to put it into park. She yelped, rushed forward and grabbed the bumper just as Alex tried to get the door open. The truck pulled them both into the lake.
The truck stopped with the bed completely submerged, but at least the cab was dry. Jenny was afraid to look at Alex. She knew how much he loved his truck. Then she heard laughter. Alex was doubled over with laughter. “You should’ve seen your face while you hung onto that bumper,” he chortled.
Then they fell into one another’s arms with laughter. They laughed and talked while waiting for a tow truck to arrive. Things weren’t instantly all right, but it was a start.
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