Tuesday, December 10, 2013



Here's a story I wrote a couple of years ago. I've probably posted it once, but since it's December again, I'll put it up again. Happy reading!

I wait on the porch overlooking the lake.  This place is ridiculous—a freaking palace.  The December sun reflects off Taupo, into my eyes and burning my face.  I’ve never gotten used to the upside-down Christmases here.

I check my watch again.  Only 1:15.  They said they’d be here by 1:30.  A dull drone overhead causes me to look up.  Shading my eyes against the bright glare, I see the jump plane twisting lazy circles; struggling against the warm air currents with its heavy load of adventurers.

“Better that they don’t see that right away,” I think.  Another glance at my watch.

“Why do you always do that?” she used to say.  “Americans!  Always have to know what time it is!”

Six years ago I followed her here.  We were horribly mismatched.  I’m from Buffalo, for Christ’s sake!  December to me is hanging around in snow up to your neck until April comes, to turn it all into ugly brown piles along the sides of the road.  What the hell was I thinking?

Now I’m almost one of them.  Okay, not really.  But I have adopted a bit of the accent.  Now I say ‘seeks’ instead of ‘six.’

I check my watch again. 

These people have some money.  She wants to be close to Huka Falls.  She says it’s a powerful place.  If you fall in, I suppose.  He’s all business.  That’s why I picked Three Mile Bay.  The whole city looks up at these homes:  Where the ‘rich people’ live.

Wish I’d brought my sunglasses—they’re just down in the car.  I squint instead, and look out over the lake. 

She left before the first Christmas.  Her friends tell me she’s always had a thing for the Maori boys.  Whatever.  “Why don’t you leave?” they’d all ask.  “You’re not from here.  What’s holding you back?”  Wish I had an answer.

  It’s certainly not this real estate job.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining.  Kiwis seem to like buying expensive houses from an American.  God only knows why. 

These two are like the others—blasted off to Sydney the minute they figured out that’s where New Zealand’s money was going.  Now they want to have a ‘little place’ in Taupo to come home to once a year.  Bloody wasteful, if you ask me.

1:26.  Come on, people!  I see the glint from what looks like a silver Mercedes swinging around the end of the bay.  Finally.

The girl I’m seeing in Wairakei says I can’t get over the ex-.  That’s why I stay here.  Whatever. 

I look across the sparking ripples on the lake, feel the easy December breeze ruffling my hair.  I think about my brother watching the Sabres playing whoever they’re playing this week.

The silver Mercedes pulls up into the drive.  They shut off the motor, but don’t get out right away.  I knew they wouldn’t.  This place is killer.  They can’t believe the view.  Now all I’ve got to do is convince them they can afford it.

“Merry Christmas!” I holler down from the porch.  “You already look like you belong here!”

‘Here.’  The word echoes in my mind.  Now if I could figure out where I belong.

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