I woke up shivering.
Damn, it's cold.
I sat up,
well, I tried to,
my back was killing me.
I slipped my shoes onto my sock-less feet.
I didn't feel like changing clothes,
John probably didn't have a washing machine. . .
And except for the tear stains on my sweatshirt,
(which I had balled up and used as a pillow.)
My clothes were perfectly clean.
I opened the door of my room, walked through the main area of the basement and headed up the stairs.
John was sitting at the table.
His eyes caught mine.
“Good. You're up.” he said.
“Yeah. . .” I replied, awkwardly.
“There's extra toast on the counter and water in that there cooler over there. You didn't have dinner so you have to eat it. No daughter o' mine's gonna be an anorexic.”
Woah.... Hillbillie accent! HAH!
I smirked a little, but went to get my two pieces of burnt, un-buttered toast from the counter.
I sat down.
Took a bite.
Before I knew it I had practically inhaled the toast. Me and my 'father' sat there staring at eachother.
“So.... dad... you all alone in this house or what?”
Okay. So it wasn't the best question, but one of us needed to say something eventually.
“Yes. I'm alone. Call me John, okay?”
“Why are you alone?”
“I don't know, I haven't seen anyone for a long time. I don't get out much.”
“I see... but don't you get lonely?”
“Naw, my work keeps me busy.”
“And what would that be?”
“And what would what be?”
Jeez, I can already tell that we're going to have a very communicative relationship .
“Well i guess you can call me a lumberjack.”
A few minutes of silence passed.
“So John... Why can't I call you dad?
“Why do you ask so many questions?”
“You're asking me why I'm asking you?”
Must run in the family.
I repeated my question.
“Why can't I call you dad?”
“Cause I ain't your dad.”
“Yes you are. You know it.”
“I'm your father Anna, I made you but I ain't your dad,”
“Is there a difference?”
“Yeah. A dad is someone that raised you and you look up to. I didn't even know you existed till last week.”
John suddenly stood up.
“Well, I've gotta get to work. Feel free to look around, Anna.”
I mumbled a response while I picked at my toast.
I put each crumb in my mouth.
One at a time.
I felt like I was going to puke if I ate any more, but I needed to eat it, or else I'll go hungry.”
Eventually I finished my toast.
Ew. What is that SMELL!?
I sniffed around like a dog.
Oh God. It's me.
I sniffed again.
Yep. Definitely me .
I slipped on my shoes and ran outside.
An annoyed “WHHAAAATTT????” came from behind me.
I twirled around to face where the sound was coming from.
How did I not notice that?
There was a shed.
It was bigger than your average backyard-shed, but smaller than a garage.
He must be in there.
I put my head against the window on the door and cupped my hands around my eyes so I could see in.
There wasn't much in there,
axe, chain-saw, hammer, rags,the usual.
Wait. If he's a lumberjack, then where's all the wood?
“HEY! GET AWAY FROM THERE!”
I spun around, shocked.
It was John.
Of course it was, who else would it be?
He ran up to me, stopped and glared at me.
“Uhhh.... sorry, I was looking for you,” I mumbled.
He let out a relieved sigh.
“That shed is forbidden, you're not allowed in there.”
“Uhm. Okay.” I nodded.
“So what do you want?”
“Oh. I, uh, wanted to know where the shower was.”
“There ain't no shower, we don't have running water.”
“That explains the outhouse.”
“Yeah.” He chuckled.
“So. . . where do you get clean? and what do you drink?”
“There's a small lake down the road, I go get water everyday, boil it and put it in the basement to cool for the next day. As for bathin', I'll either boil a whole tub of water, wash in the lake or use a rag with water from the basin.”
I should of known. Sounds like.... no fun at all but I guess I'd better ask about the lake, take the easy way out. “So, can I use the lake?” I asked.
“Sure thing, kiddo. But you gotta use your own soap.”
We both smiled at each other. “Kay, thanks John!” I yelled back as I ran towards the house. I ran down to my room and pushed the door open.
Ugh. Okay. It's too cold in here.
I went over to my suitcase and grabbed a bar of soap and a little bottle of hotel-shampoo. I turned around and got up, when I did I was facing the wood stove.
Wood! That's it!
I made note to myself to chop wood tonight so that my poor little toes would be safe again. I happily ran up the stairs and out the door.
John was sitting on the step of the shed, sharpening his axe with a stone.
Wow. Hillbillie AND caveman. Dad of the year right here.
I waltzed right up to him, stopped, and rocked on my heels.
He looked up at me, eyes squinting away from the sun. “What?”
“Where's the lake?” I asked.
“Left then right, you'll know when you get there.” He shrugged.
I shrugged back and started down the driveway toward the dirt road.
I walked down the left side of the road, looking for a path on the right side. When I found it I ran across the road without even looking both ways, I felt like a rebel.
I seen the path.
I walked down the small path made of over-sized gravel and realized that it was a hill, going down.
I always used to love running down hills.
I would run, but I'm scared I might fall and break my arm, it doesn't look like there's a hospital anywhere around here.
So I walked.
When I got to the bottom, I was amazed how open it was. It was just a big, empty space on a lake that couldn't be more beautiful. It was small, of course, about the size of a baseball diamond.
You know, the big league ones.
It had a small dock going from the bottom of the shore, down into the water about ten feet.
I walked over to the dock and stared out at the water. While doing that, I quickly pulled off my clothes, underwear and all, and dove into the water.
I hadn't been swimming for so long that I had trouble staying afloat.
I eventually got the hang of it and swam back to the dock to get my shampoo. As I was reaching for it, I heard a splash from the other end of the lake.
It's okay, it's probably just an animal.
Thirty seconds passed.
Forty seconds passed.
I sank down a bit so that the water covered everything but my head. I slowly turned around.
My eyes widened and my mouth dropped open.
There, about two feet in front of me, was the cutest guy I had ever seen. Blonde hair that had darkened slightly because of the water, sky blue eyes and not one blemish on his face.
“Hey. I'm Cameron.” He said, extending his hand out of the water and shoving it towards me.
“Uhm, hey Cameron. I'm Anna.” I replied as I lifted my hand out of the water to shake his, but as soon as it left the water, I sank.
He grabbed my forearm and dragged me back to the dock.
I grabbed onto the ladder, ready to pull myself up when I remembered that I had no clothes on.
“Go on.” He urged me.
I quickly thought of an excuse, “N- no..... I haven't washed yet.”
I kind of expected him to turn around, but he just stayed there, looking at me like a lost puppy.
“And I'm kind of..... Naked.” I hinted.
His eyes widened.
“Oh... Uh... Uh... I'll... uhhhh.... leave you alone then, I live down the street.... where do you live?”
“I live with my biological father, John.”
“In that old shack?”
“Oh, sorry for bringing it up, I was just curious, I've never seen you around before.”
“Thanks. See you around Cameron.” I smiled at him and he smiled back and started swimming away.
I waited until he was out of sight to climb out of the water. I pulled my clothes on as fast as was humanly possible, struggling a little against my wet skin, and bolted up the hill.
My legs started to burn by the time I was at the top so I slowed down as I turned onto the dirt road and walked towards the house.
When I got to the driveway I seen an old pickup truck, the trunk filled to the brim with chopped wood. John came out of the house, keys in hand. He looked at me, looked away and said, “Hey, Anna. I'm going to drop off today's load. I'll be back by sundown, don't get into trouble.”
He got into the truck and drove away.
My turn to play lumberjack.
I went into the house and down to my room. I put the small hotel shampoo back into my suitcase and scanned the room.
I could pile it against the wall.
I nodded to myself as I ran out of the room and bounded up the stairs.
I noticed that it had already gotten dark outside, I must have been downstairs longer than I thought.
As I was getting my coat on, I remembered something.
How am I gonna cut the wood?
I might be screwed over.
I ran outside and headed straight for the shed.
If anything helps me, it's going to be in here.
I tried the door handle.
If I was John, where would I hide a key?
I looked around.
No place mat to hide it under.
I put my hands on my hips and sighed. I leaned forward and rested my head against the window of the door. My hands were on the frame of the door, toying with the plastic cover for an electrical plug-in.
Why would there be a plug-in here? He has no electricity.
I fumbled with the cover and pulled it open.
There it is. Thank you John!
I smiled to myself, I felt like a genius.
I was distracted from my thoughts by a rumbling truck engine.
I ran into the house as fast as I could, took off my coat and shoes and went down to my room.
The door slammed.
“GO TO BED!”
He was obviously drunk, so I gave up arguing.
I went to lay on my little mattress.
I thought about the day.
Sometimes I wish that life was easy, but that's not going to happen anytime soon.
I needed to get into that shed tomorrow, even if it took me all day.
I started to drift off.
Right before I fell into a deep slumber, I swear I seen the most beautiful pair of blue eyes in the world.