The summer I was 19 I worked at the lake.  My on-again, off-again high school boyfriend and I were “off”.  I was home from my first year of college; immature, drifting around in my life.  I often worked from 4 pm until 2 or 3 am on the late afternoon, dinner and evening booze cruises aboard the Tir Na Nog.  I loved that job; making tons of cash while making sure the tourists were having a good time.

I was surrounded by new friends…  There was the work crew: Melissa, Maura, Chris and Mike plus Dave the captain who kept us entertained with stories from his life at sea.  I secretly had a crush on Dave.  He was at least 30 years older than I was.  He was exotic and carefree and secure enough in his life that he seemed eons beyond the boys I was meeting.  There was the gang of locals, Kendra, Tony, Jay, Marcy, Nicole and Mike,  home from college and playing hard.  We would spend nights on Mark Island in Jay’s parents’ summer home; making huge pasta feasts and water skiing until it was beyond dark, then swimming and hanging out on the raft as the moon rose to greet a perfect summer evening.  There was the crowd of hockey players, Steve and Bobby and their buddies,  who came on the booze cruises and then invited us all to their place on Rattlesnake Island for horse-shoes and rowdy parties.  I got punched for real by some hot-shot player for the Washington Capitals who thought it would be fun to show me how  hockey players fight.  That began an all-out brawl which I escaped by stealing a canoe and paddling back to the mainland.

Careless and carefree, my biggest problem was choosing what to do for fun when I wasn’t working, which was fun.  In August, a few weeks before school began again, I met Liam.  He was visiting his family for a few weeks before heading off to seek his fortune in Alaska.  He was 17, scrawny and tan with long, soft curls I envied.  I had been hanging out with his sister all summer and he came to a gathering at my house one night.  He was confident but not quite cocky. He was  quiet, though aware of his charm.  Immediately smitten, I eventually ignored my duties as hostess when he invited me to star-gaze on the lawn. 

We spent hours lying in the grass. The conversation was as big and endless and deep as the sky, punctuated by friends coming and going, sharing the view and some laughs.  I remember the thrill of lying shoulder to shoulder, laughing, loving the moment without acknowledging it.  What did we talk about? It seemed so important at the time. As it got late, I got chilled from the damp of the night.  I knew he was leaving soon and was reluctant to break the spell of the evening sky.  We got quiet, realizing that this fun, unexpected connection would end almost as soon as it had begun.  He leaned over me then, gave me a sweet, sad kiss.  He got up silently and walked away without looking back.  I lay there for a while longer then went inside to say goodbye to the last of  my lingering friends and make my way upstairs to bed.  Bittersweet.

I awoke the next morning with the sun streaming in.  Grabbing my glasses, it took a full minute of staring around my bedroom to realize I was not still dreaming.  Every surface was covered with daisies!  Scattered across the floor, atop my dresser, the windowsill, tucked behind the mirror on the door, burying my blankets, woven into my hair…simple, cheerful daisies. There was a note tied to a posy which had been tucked under my pillow.  It said “Think of me whenever you see daisies.  Know that you have been loved.”  I never saw him again.

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5 Comments on “daisies”

  1. Are you kidding me? How come all your stories are like right out of a novel? Your life is a book and you are writing it so beautifully 🙂

  2. Lesley Cruz Says:

    Ahhhh romance! Loved this!!

  3. misa Says:

    Wow, you are really a beautiful writer. How come my college boyfriend just sent me bacon in the mail? I was a vegetarian at the time too. I broke up with him after I got back from my semester away in France.

  4. Penny Says:

    What a neat story. What a neat guy. Wonder where he is today?

  5. Linda Driver Says:

    I love reading your stuff Susan. Hope all is well.

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