Essay: Bonnie's Cottage

Jun 21, 2018

Finally, Bonnie invites me to spend a week at her family cottage, the cottage she’s been telling me about all during eighth grade. Every day we will go swimming, she says, and sit on the dock and wait for boys to pick us up in their speedboats.

Now we’re here and Bonnie says the lake is too cold for swimming. And although we sit on the dock every day, no boys come by. As it turns out, the only invitation to ride in a speedboat comes from Bonnie’s dad on the last night of my visit.

“There are lots of little coves in this lake,” he says as we steer away from shore, “so you have to know where you’re going or you can get lost.” Bonnie’s cottage quickly disappears from view and the sky deepens from violet to indigo.

The air is cold and the noise of the motor throbs in my ears. I can see nothing but black water all around us, tiny stars overhead. The boat keeps plunging into darkness and I feel terrified and enormously alive. As it turns out, nothing has turned out like I thought it would, and the best part of the visit is something I never thought of.

“You have to know where you’re going,” Bonnie’s dad says. And he does.