The Pink Fairy.
Matthew Kendall fell to his oars to control the rocking boat. His sister had jumped overboard and was swimming to shore. Once the rocking stopped, he rowed to shore. Lisa was talking to a boy who appeared no older than them, though Lisa was fifteen months younger than Matthew’s sixteen years. The boy turned and waved at Matthew in a friendly way. He was a good-looking guy with a tousled mop of dark brown hair, a friendly smile, and a pair of shocking blue eyes behind large, plastic glasses.
“Hey,” Matthew said after he docked his father’s rowboat at the beach. And so began the exchange of pleasantries that led to learning names, ages, residences at and away from Alice Lake, and what they were doing there.
The boy, Dave Evans, was not a tourist. He lived three blocks from the Kendalls’ rented cottage and lived here year-long. He explained that the binoculars hanging from a strap around his neck was for bird watching.
“Seen anything interesting?” Matthew asked.
“The usual,” Dave returned. “Why? Do you like watching birds, too?”
“As a matter of fact, I do. My favorite is the Stellar’s Jay. Seen any around?”
“Quit being a wiseass,” Lisa said to her brother.
“What?” Matthew spun and faced Lisa and shrugged. “I like the Stellar’s Jay. Okay?”
“You know Pennsylvania only has the Blue Jay.” Still dripping water from her short black hair and yellow bikini, she went to Dave’s dune buggy and marveled it through chattering teeth.
Dave pulled a pink and red striped beach towel from off the passenger seat and draped it around her shoulders. Matthew rolled his eyes and said, “That’s so romantic.”
Dave turned to him and said, “I bet you’ve never seen a fairy.”
“What?” The sudden, unexpected comment seemed to take Matthew’s breath away for a moment. Then, “Of course not,” he answered. “Fairies aren’t real. Why would you say that?”
Dave shrugged. “Just curious if you’ve ever seen any.”
Matthew took a step backward. “No-o-o, because fairies aren’t real.”
“Well, I believe in fairies,” Lisa said. “I’ve read all about them, ever since I was a little girl.”
“That’s because you’re a few pickles short of a cheeseburger,” Matthew said.
Dave lifted the binoculars and said, “I never believed in them either until this year. I first saw her in town at my grandma’s bookstore. I followed her to the lake.”
“She lives here?” Lisa asked.
“In the woods,” Dave said. “I spotted her again a bit ago, but she flew over the lake and out of sight toward Myers Ridge.”
“Yeah, well, I’m rowing over to the amusement park where the sane people are,” Matthew announced. “You coming, Lisa?”
“I think I’ll stay.” She looked at Dave. “Can I stay?”
Dave shrugged. Matthew got into the boat and pushed it free from the pebbly shore with an oar. “Nice meeting you, Dave,” he called as he rowed from shore. “Not!”
“He doesn’t mean it,” Lisa whispered to Dave. Then, “Thanks for letting me hunt the fairy with you?”
Dave smiled. “Would you like to go to my dad’s old place? It belongs to my grandma now, but it’s high enough up that we may see where she’s at. It’s not far from here, just through those woods a ways.”
“I have to be home by four o’clock,” she said.
Matthew watched from the boat as his sister followed the boy wearing a solid emerald Oxford shirt to his brown jeans and white sneakers into the dune buggy. While he rowed and watched Dave drive into the woods, the look on his face readily revealed that he regretted leaving his sister behind.