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Losing Doolittle.

I recently got to spend a few days at the lake house my family used to visit through most of my childhood; we no longer own it, and it turns out I missed it more deeply than I realized.

Anthony and I both got the week before NYC Pride off this year, so I contrived to get us a little time there. The cousins who own Greenshore gave Anthony and me permission to relax there for several days rather than just the 1 or 2 I had expected. Good god, I'm grateful for that.

I missed this place. Standing on the balcony, the porch, or the dock and looking out over the lake, I was reminded of the beauty and tranquility this lake represents for me. The meaning and memories, too.

This was always a place of solace and stability for me. We moved around a lot when I was a kid, but we always came back to this place. It had been in our family for generations before I was even born—if we'd been able to keep it, it would have been a solid 4 generations including mine. This was where I figured out I was gay, where my cousin and I got probably the worst sunburns of our lives, where my passion for gardening was kicked off, and where I experienced so many varied but meaningful moments.

I always thought of this house as stone-like; immovable and eternal. I know it's just wood and slowly succumbing to the ambient wetness of its environment. I know it's not the giant, monolithic structure I always saw it as when I was a kid; in fact, it seems smaller now that I'm an adult and some of the magic has faded with reality and growing up.

It's a sad thing, I suppose, when the magic of childhood dies. And I guess that's part of what happened when we sold it a few years ago—the property taxes alone, nevermind upkeep, were brutal. Or maybe it was simply the reality of losing it. As it is, the cousins who own it now ostensibly allow us to use it, or so we have assumed, because they adore our grandmother. It's therefore through her and her visiting that we can come experience it, we've tacitly concluded.

No one, to my knowledge, has asked what happens next, though. So I'm grateful they gave me this opportunity to enjoy the lake and share it with Anthony because for all I know it'll be the last time I stay at this house.

It's no longer ours, and it's not what it was—even the furniture has changed, the smell is different. I used to have nightmares after we sold it of what horrible things would become of the house and the woods and the lake; they may not seem like nightmares to others, but visions of the house rotting into disrepair or the woods being torn down for developments or the lake dying out or being drained...

But visiting the lake still offers a sort of enduring peace; there's a persisting comfort yet in visiting it. The view of the lake hasn't changed much despite the growing in of trees and shrubs along the shoreline. Its colors haven't faded as much as I might have expected given the other shifting in perspective and perception.

So there are still moments, and not infrequent, it impresses a distinct awe and quietude. But I guess that, because I'm an adult now and have worries or because there's a preciousness and loss inherent in those moments, they seem different.

I remember one morning not long before we sold it my mom and I separately got up early and found each other on the dock around sunrise. As the sun rose that morning, we looked over the lake, thought about our family and its past and future here, and said our goodbyes. For many reasons, we knew, none of it would ever be the same.


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