Glencoe Dreams, Part One
The sun was so hot that 4th of July, one could fry an egg on the sidewalk. At least, that’s what Serena’s father used to tell her. She sat on the swing of her grandmother’s front porch and watched the sunrise. Serena liked arising early in the morning, before anyone else. It was her time of solitude, which she always embraced. Sometimes, her dad would join her, and now, sometimes, Serena especially missed him when the sun rose above the mountains, and the seat next to her was empty. Serena’s father had drunk himself into an early grave when she was nineteen, only six years after her mother left them to run off to Seattle with her boss after he knocked her up.
Serena had slipped her eyes closed as she swallowed the lump in her throat. She felt the weight of the swing shift as someone took a seat next to her. Serena opened her eyes and turned her gaze towards Isabella, who was wearing a look of concern.
“If you want me to leave, I’ll understand, but something told me you could use the company today.”
Serena smiled at her friend. “How did you know I was out here?”
“I had to pee, and when I walked back into my room, I peeked in through your door to see if you were awake and saw the bed was empty.”
The sun had only been above the mountains for half an hour, but the humidity was already killing both Serena and Isabella.
“I am going to go take a shower before the circus starts.” Serena snarked, referring to the arrival of her family.
Isabella chuckled at her statement. “Good idea!”
Serena had spent every 4th of July camping at her grandmother’s since she was a young child. It was a big family tradition. All of the relatives on both Serna’s grandmother and grandfather’s side came. They owned over 50 acres of land, so the families would spread out, some in RV’s, some in tents, and the elderly couples slept in the big farmhouse that held six bedrooms. Close friends of the family also came, and it was the perfect spot to see the annual Deep Creek Lake fireworks. As per usual, Serena, Isabella, Serena’s grandmother, and Aunt Aly were prepping food in the kitchen while Serena’s grandfather and uncles sat around the rotisserie, watching the pig rotate. The aunts and teenage girls were sunbathing while the kids and adolescent boys ran down the slip and slide .Occasionally, Serena would look out of the kitchen window and chuckle, remembering her childhood days, doing the same thing.
With her hands in a bowl of bread dough, and her body comfortable in the conditioned air, there was no other place in the world she would have rather been at that moment.
The ladies chatted and shared laughter, numerous cups of coffee, and Aunt Aly’s blueberry muffins before setting up the tables outside for the feast they were about to consume as they watched the sunset. It was Serena’s favorite part of the day because just as nature’s spectacular show had ended, everyone had just enough time to grab dessert before watching the human-made spectacle.
As the night winded down and the family helped put all of the food away, more and more people retreated to their tents, RV’s, and rooms. The only ones left around the fire were the four ladies who spent their morning together in the kitchen. The women always had been night owls.
“I’m nervous about Glencoe,” Serena admitted as she sipped at her wine as if it held the confidence she needed to admit her fear out loud.
“Oh, honey. Why?” Serena’s grandmother questioned.
“It’s the first time I’m going to be in the woods since Mitch’s accident.” This time Serena gulped the wine.
Serena held up a finger as she finished her drink. She sat down her glass and looked around at the three women sitting around the fire. “And please, spare me the he’s been gone two years speech.”
“People mean well, darling.” Aunt Aly chimed in.
“Grief doesn’t have a time limit, Aunt Aly,” Serena replied softly.
The women remained silent for a few moments before bidding their goodnights. Serena opted to stay outside and stargaze after the fire went out, she knew she wouldn’t sleep well that night, and the stars always brought her comfort.
Goodbyes are never easy, especially as the years pass by and grandma keeps showing signs of aging. Each hug seemed to last a little longer, just in case, it was the last. Serena found herself holding onto her as if she might vanish from her arms if she didn’t. She grasped on to every precious second, knowing that time had the possibility of stealing her grandma away with the ticking of the next second hand.
Serena’s eyes started to sting as she held her eyes open, afraid to allow a tear to fall if she blinked. She found herself praying for more time as she bid her goodbyes.
Serena paced back and forth as she stared at her computer screen and pushed her hair behind her ears. “Ugh!” She moaned aloud. She threw herself onto her bed and called her grandmother.
“Hi, sweetie!” She greeted her.
“Hi, Gamma!” She replied as she giggled. She loved how her grandmother was always excited to hear from her. “I am probably overthinking an email I am debating on sending, and I need to know if I should send it or not.
“I’m all ears.” Grandma was happy to help.
“I thought about emailing Kent and asking him what kind of clothing I should bring with me for the weather conditions.”
“I think that’s a smart question,” Grandma assured her.
“What if he wonders why I didn’t just check the weather myself?” Serena asked.
“You are overthinking it,” Grandma informed her.
Serena aggressively rubbed her forehead.”Probably, but I did check the weather, and I’ve already picked out my clothes.”
“Why do you want to email him?” Grandma asked. “I mean, what’s the real reason.”
Serena sighed. “You know me so well,” she stated as she slid lower in her chair. “I want to let him know that I’m really looking forward to seeing him.”
“Why don’t you just tell him that?” Grandma asked as if it were the easiest thing to do. “You’re the one who is always saying people should always be honest with one another.”
“Yeah, and I do believe that.” She confirmed. “But I don’t want to come on too strong.”
“Serena, trust me. He’s going to be thrilled.”
“You really think so?”
“I mean, you’re pretty, smart, sweet, charming-” she paused. “How could Kent not be excited?”
Serena chuckled. She noticed the attention men gave her, and while she didn’t always see what they saw, she couldn’t deny that she was attractive. “Thanks, Gamma.”
“I love that you still call me Gamma,” Grandma confessed.
“I’ve been doing it since I was three.” Serena retorted. “No point in stopping now.”
“Go send the email. Don’t overthink it, just do it. Just be honest. I mean, maybe don’t tell him you want to jump his bones.”
“GRANDMA!” Serena shrieked as she turned fifty shades of red.
“Well-” Grandma responded, matter-of-factly.
“He is wickedly handsome, Grandma, but I barely know him.”
“You told me you’ve spoken a few times.” Grandma reminded her.
“I have talked to him a few times, but he’s always short with me. He’s only ever really opened up to me once.”
“Well,” Serena’s grandmother paused, choosing her words carefully, “Maybe his heart is guarded.”
“His poetry is often dark.” She confessed.
“People who have been hurt by love tend to keep their heart guarded, so if he has let his guard down around you, even just a tiny bit, it’s a good start.”
“Thank you, Gamma.” Serena smiled as if her grandmother could see her. “I knew I came to the right person.”
Serena grabbed her bowl and took a nice long hit. She didn’t want to be stoned, just enough to calm her nerves.
“Okay,” she told herself. “Don’t overthink it. Just write what you feel.”
My dearest Kent,
” No.” Serena thought. “Too personal, too quickly.”
“Keep it simple, stupid.” She said aloud.
“Perfect!” She smiled at herself as if she was some kind of genius for thinking of writing his name. She took a sip of her wine and continued.
I hope this email finds you well. I checked the weather for Glencoe and saw that it is supposed to be primarily rainy. I am bringing a Pancho, a hoodie in case it gets cold, and hiking boots. Is there anything else you suggest?
I am really looking forward to learning more about photography and getting to know you better!
Serena brushed her hair behind her ears and hit send. She giggled like a schoolgirl, closed her laptop, and climbed into bed.
The following morning Serena jumped out of bed and ran to her laptop, checking her email before making her coffee.
“EEEK!” Serena squealed when she had seen Kent had replied to her email!
My dearest Serena,
“AHHHHHH!” Serena was freaking out. “I should have just went with it!”
She continued to clap and stomp her feet excitedly for a few seconds before turning her attention back towards his response.
My Dearest Serena,
I am so glad you reached out! Yes, it often rains in Scotland, but it looks like we will luck out and get a few days of sunshine! We will be doing a lot of walking and camping, so good hiking shoes are good. I thought about going into town one day and showing you some of my local favorites (pubs, bookstores, markets, etc..). Some comfortable sneakers might be appropriate. I also recommend dressing in layers because you might get hot. A lightweight jacket, sunscreen, and a water bottle are all excellent items to have on hand.
I must confess, when your friends reached out to book this trip for you, I became elated. I cannot wait to meet you in person and get to know you better as well. I have a few surprises up my sleeve, and I hope this will be an experience you will never forget. I will do my best to give you one of the most extraordinary adventures of your life!
See you soon!
Serena quickly stood from the office chair and tripped over one of the wheels as she ran to grab her phone from her nightstand. She laughed at herself as she picked herself up off the floor and grabbed her phone to call her friends while she made coffee.
To be continued…