The sun lay high in the sky, its hot rays beating down on the earth below mercilessly. All day the young boy had been begging his older sibling to take him to the lake, their parents still in town on business. Their land resided in the countryside more or less, the acres home to their two-story farmhouse, large red barn, and farm animals to boot. They worked the farm from sun up to sundown. One day a week they could relax for a few hours while their parents went to town to restock on the necessities.
So since their heads had left their fluffy pillows the seven-year-old boy had been pestering his older sister. She had just turned sixteen but acted like she was twenty and grown, to take him to the lake at the back of their property. She finally gave in, agreeing to take him once their mom and dad left for town. The hours went by peacefully, their chores coming to a halt when their father called out to them while standing beside his pickup truck. They rushed over to the man in his mid-thirties, his form clad in a light grey short sleeve shirt and blue jeans. They were his nice clothes, pressed as if he were going to church.
His cowboy boots, however, were a whole other story. His clothes may be fresh and clean as a child’s thoughts, but his shoes couldn’t hide the truth of their lifestyle. They were ruffed up, covered in dirt even after he tried to clean them off, and lived in like a good pair of boots should be. His children were proud of their father, never embarrassed or ashamed to be seen with him. He was a farmer, and in their small town that meant he was a hard working man that provided well for his family.
Their mother came out of the house with a smile on her red stained lips. She didn’t normally wear lipstick, or any makeup for that matter, but she liked to dress up a bit when they went into town. Father would usually take the opportunity to spoil her, taking her to a movie at the small theatre downtown and then to the diner for an early dinner. Their daughter smiled, looking between the two of them. They acted like they were still in high school, his arm wrapping around her waist as she lifted on her tiptoes to kiss him ever so gently.
Their son made gagging noises, telling them kissing was gross as they laughed and pulled away from each other but still kept their arms around the others’ waist. They smiled down at their children, father mussing up his boys hair and mother cupping her daughters face in her hand. It was the perfect picture of happiness.
“Now remember, if you go to the lake just be safe. Don’t go too deep and make sure you’re home before the sun touches the horizon.”
Their mother’s voice was a singsong tone of calm serenity. She was a saint, always teaching them right from wrong. She led her life in a way that showed them the best way to live their own, but still gave them room to fall and get back up with their own strength. She believed in lessons learned, kissing booboos when needed, and raising her voice as a last resort.
She had only ever spoken in a loud tone once, and since then the kids had learned their lesson and heeded her words of wisdom. Their father was the same. He had been raised by an alcoholic who hit him no matter what he did, so he had refused to resort to spankings when they were younger unless absolutely necessary.
They were thankful for their children, they had grown well and learned fast how life worked. You reap what you sew, and they all knew that early on. They worked together to make the best for themselves and their family, and with every passing day they only grew happier. The woman, a year younger than her husband, kissed each of their children on the cheek before bidding them goodnight. They would be in bed when their parents got home, as were the rules on this one night. Their date night.
They smiled up at their parents, their father holding the passenger side door for their mother, as they promised to be safe. They waved them off, hollering after them that they loved them and hoped they had a good time. The sun had lowered itself, but only slightly, and if they hurried they would have at least three good hours at the lake. Plenty of time to play and get back home before sunrise.