I looked at the woman. She had tiny crow's feet at the corners of her eyes, bright white teeth, and tan skin. She expertly drove the boat past all the male anglers and she seemed proud of herself while doing it. She was the Queen of the lake. I grinned at her.
"You are smiling, that's a nice change," she remarked.
"You're the Queen of the Lake."
"Ha! What's that?"
"The men all want you."
"Do they? Hm. I never noticed," she said jokingly while pretending to fix her wildly flapping hair. I realized this was the first time I thought about someone other than myself, or HIM, since I could remember. It felt good.
"Have you fished here a lot?"
"Since before it was so popular. I first came here with my Dad when I was a little girl."
"So, was there a cabin 43?" I tried to sound nonchalant. She was quiet for a count of five.
"You're just one of THOSE people," she huffed.
"What? Who? I just noticed that there seemed to be one missing. That's all." I blushed.
"You don't know the story?" she squinted at me.
"No." I waited with baited breath.
"Someone died in cabin 43. And then no one stayed in it. People said it was haunted. They tore it down. I thought you were a ghost hunter."
"How long has it been?"
"Since they tore it down? About two weeks." She cut the engine. We drifted calmly toward the dock.
"No, since he died," I said quietly.
"About four years."
A tingle ran up and down my spine. Four years?! Where have I been for four YEARS??!
"Are you gonna get out now? I'm not a taxi service you know, though if you stay in my boat I might have to charge you." The lady winked at me.
I shook myself. "Sorry, I was just, uh, thank you!" I stood up and stepped onto the dock. The lady untied my boat and threw the rope to me. I wrapped the rope around a post and watched her motor off.