As Cindy topped over the hill, she saw the lodge sitting in the distance. Slowly she brought her car to a stop, as memories came rushing to her mind. It had been ten years since she and her family had vacationed there.
As she looked down the hill, she remembered the moment that they had first driven through the gates. There were horse stables on the left and as they drove past, two of the horses were frolicking in the field together.
They soon brought their car to a stop in front of the lodge. With suitcases in hand, they made their way to the reservation desk. Sitting behind the desk, was a sweet old man. He welcomed them with a wide smile and happily showed them to their rooms.
After Cindy unpacked her suitcase, she decided to go for a walk while her parents were still getting settled in. She waved at the old gentleman on her way out the front door and strolled down to the horse stables. As she was nearing the stable, she heard a voice.
Curious, she poked her head around the corner of the stable and saw a young man standing there. He gently placed a saddle on one of the horses and softly patted its neck. His voice was soothing as he spoke, and his kind demeanor instantly captivated Cindy. As she was watching him, he turned around. She tried to duck behind the wall, but she wasn’t fast enough.
He called out to her and she slowly walked over to him. After introducing themselves, the young man, Adam, asked if she had ever ridden a horse before. Somewhat embarrassed, she admitted that she hadn’t. Without a word, Adam ran over, grabbed another saddle and placed it on the second horse.
He then gently helped Cindy onto it. He showed her how to handle the reins and maneuver the horse in the direction she wanted it to go. Adam then climbed on top of his horse and led it out of the stable doors. With unexpected confidence, Cindy grabbed a hold of the reins and followed him. Side by side, the two of them rode up the hill.
When they reached the top, Cindy was amazed at the stunning view. There was a lake off in the distance, nestled among the green pasture. The mountains encompassed the area on every side. It was the most beautiful sight she had ever seen.
Adam jumped down from his horse and reached out his hand. Cindy lightly placed her hand in his, as he helped her down off the saddle. They walked a few feet ahead and sat down together in the grass. Sitting next to each other, they spoke of their lives, shared their stories and their dreams.
What seemed like only minutes must have been hours, because soon the sun began to set. With disappointment, they climbed back on their horses and rode together back to the lodge.
The month went by in a flurry. They spent their days together, riding through the valley, sitting next to the lake and star gazing at night. Cindy had never felt as close to anyone, as she did with Adam. She felt as if she had known him her whole life.
Then, the day came when they had to say their goodbyes. He was to stay there and help run the lodge with his grandfather and she had to start college in a few weeks.
The day she and her family drove away from the lodge, a part of her was left behind.
College soon began and her days were filled with essays, homework and studying. Before she knew it, four years had passed. She earned her degree and began her career in teaching. She was certain that by then, Adam would have moved away and started a family of his own. Trying to put him behind her, she carried on with her life.
One afternoon in class, Cindy told her students that they will never know what opportunities await them, if they never venture out to discover them. What she said to them played over and over in her mind for months. During winter break, she decided she had to listen to her own advice. She packed up and drove to the lodge. It had been ten years since she had been there.
She didn’t know if the lodge was still there and certainly didn’t think that Adam would be, but she had to find out. After hours of driving, she arrived at the lodge and it was just as beautiful as ever, except now covered in snow.
The doors of the lodge were open, so she walked inside and found it to be very quiet. There seemed to be no one there. After strolling through the hallways for a while, she ventured outside and walked down to the stables.
Standing there against one of the fence posts, she gazed out toward the stunning landscape. Minus the fields of white, nothing had changed. It was all exactly how she had remembered it from all those years ago.
After a while, and still no signs of anyone at the lodge, she decided it was time to leave. She was disappointed that her hope was merely a hope, but comforted that she had followed her own advice. She had at least tried. With a deep sigh of acceptance, she turned and slowly began making her way back to her car.
Suddenly, a hand stopped her. Turning back around, there was Adam standing before her. His eyes met with hers, and in that moment all her questions were answered. Not a word had to be spoken. As he grabbed her hand and pulled her into his chest, she knew that their journey together had only just begun.
This post is a response to Cognitive Reflection’s Prompt: Once More With Feeling