Another prompt from our writing class. This one is a Freewrite. It was supposed to be an observation, but I read the instructions wrong.
In a freewrite, you write whatever the prompt led you to. This time the prompt was “Pathways”
The path to the Green Boat House is behind my house. I can see my schoolmates walk by with their towels rolled and tucked under their arms or draped over their backs as they trudge over. We live above the Laundromat, which is on the shore of Lake Hebron, in a little inlet. The downtown of Monson was built around this inlet. Also behind our house is the town dock, where people put their boats in the water during the summertime.
We didn’t swim in this inlet because the town sewer dumped right into it. In the canal next to the post office, we could see floating poop making its way into the lake. Instead we went to the town beach, which was located a couple of miles from the town center. Or we went to the boat house, which was just outside the inlet.
We weren’t really supposed to go to the Green Boat House. It’s on private property. If you walk past the town dock along the shore of the lake, there is a path through the trees that leads around the left side of the inlet, right to a not-so-secret beach. I don’t go too often myself, it doesn’t feel right. I never go by myself.
Tree roots reach across the worn path. Beer cans litter the small forest, some with the old-fashioned pull tabs, debris from another era. It’s cooler in the trees, a relief from the hot sun. If I didn’t know just how short this path really was, I could almost picture getting lost, or walking forever. But soon, as I follow the circular trail, I see more and more blue. The large part of the lake is opening up, and the crystal clear water beckons.
Suddenly, I’m there. To the left is a lush green lawn that reaches all the way to Route 15 (and freedom). To the right is a sandy beach leading to a private swimming oasis. Straight ahead, a dilapidated boat house.
Betty-Jean is already there. So is Penny Erickson. They are shucking their shorts and shirts and jumping into the water. I’m a little slower. But soon we are all standing thigh-high in the water. Shivering. “Okay,” says Betty-Jean, “on three. One. Two. Three.” She and Penny jump in. Penny holds her nose.
I stand there. I wasn’t ready. I psyche myself up to jump in. Suddenly my brother Bill comes running around the corner. He throws off his shoes, and takes off his shirt, and starts plowing into the water. “Brat,” he says. His arms start moving across the water threateningly.
“Billy, don’t” I say.
I take a deep breath and plunge into the icy water, doing a couple of summersaults as I go. I arch my back, and float.
What comes to mind when you think “Pathways”?