I’ve started thinking about that promise I made to myself: starting my own legacy. A promise I made in a flight of passion. Rejecting my father. Starting over. Changing. I guess in that moment I forgot that a Legacy is dependent on one major thing.
I want romance, I want a partner. But I can never put the pieces of the puzzle into place to create the proper picture. And when Lilly ran out on me (or at least that’s what I assume happened) it was as if someone took the puzzle and threw it the fountain of Von Haunt Estate. There was no putting it back together.
Gunther demanded that I come out with him to this place called The Bluffs and forget about whatever it was that happened.
I wasn’t thrilled to go, but I always have been a proponent of keeping the mind busy during times like this.
“What is this place,” I had to ask Gunther. Even though I researched the town when I first moved in, looking for traces of my father, I had never heard of the Bluffs. When I got there I figured out why.
You weren’t supposed to know about it. Some natural spring that developed in the ruins of an old castle, the giant red KEEP OUT signs were hidden behind overgrown foliage and layers of spray paint. I’ve never been the rule-breaking type, but this is a rule that demands to be broken.
Gunther had invited a few of his friends along, and the waters seemed to flow with their free-spiritedness. Lilly had been washed from my mind, and I was starting to feel better.
Gunther and I decided to end the evening with a late-night espresso. We arrived at the cafe after the barista had hung up her apron and was mopping the floors. Much to her disappointment, we ordered two espressos and decided to sit outside, hoping that by not disturbing her clean interior our espresso would be of a decent quality.
The conversation steered back to the topic of Lilly and Gunther told me what I already knew.
“You have to clear the air with her. You don’t know what happened, I mean you haven’t even bothered to text her since it happened. Maybe it was an emergency? Maybe she got scared? You don’t know.”
While I appreciated his opinion, his searching justifications reflected my interior monologue: who knew what happened.
“Yeah…” was all I managed to say. But I knew he was right.
I knew Lilly lived next to a park, so to make it easier for her I decided to invite her there. After she had arrived any shred of confidence I might have had about the conversation vanished. I fumbled around a greeting and Lilly must have been able to feel the awkwardness growing.
“About the other day…” she started. No sense of shame was evident in her voice. No sense of remorse. But that didn’t prevent me from cutting her off.
“It’s okay, really. I don’t need to know what happened. Not now. You don’t owe me anything.” I don’t know where that came from. Suddenly my fear of a true answer overcame my curiosity and I tried to shut down the situation as quickly as I could.
“You’re great,” Lilly said.
And that was it. I didn’t have answers, but it was clear that that conversation was over for now.
As we moved beyond that conversation, the rest of the evening passed enjoyably. Having picked a park for Lilly’s convenience, I realized after that it also helped make the evening seem normal, as Lilly and I could connect over our shared angling experiences.
This time, no mysterious cause pulled Lilly away without explanation.
“No fish bitin’ tonight” she said. “I think I’m gonna go home. But, I’m glad you called.”
And with that she left. A sense of intimacy had hidden below the surface throughout the entire evening, but never broke up from the depths. Nevertheless, I felt better. Things with Lilly at least had a future. More than I could say yesterday.
I sat there alone until the sun rose, enjoying the slow lap of the water on the shores and the occasional tug on my line.
As I threw my last cast out, I noticed someone else had joined me at the small pond. It was the not-croissant lady.
Penny. Her name suddenly came flooding back to me again.
She looked over and smiled her recognition. I flashed a grin in return.
It must have been the slight deliriousness that comes after staying awake all night to see the sun rise, but I felt a deep happiness that had crept in to the bottom of my stomach suddenly.
That night Gunther called me and invited me out to a party up at the ancient ruins in town. He said he wanted to hear all about what happened with Lilly at the park.
The ruins have a mysterious aura that makes mundane things like dancing around a fire feel more primal. Perhaps that was why by the end of the night that same deep happiness from that morning had expanded from the bottom of my stomach to fill my entire body.
Or perhaps it was something else.