My destination lay straight ahead.
This presented a problem: I didn’t have a boat. I wouldn’t be swimming: I swim like a rock.
I sighed. I had complete faith in the compass; my sister made it; she knew her stuff. Everyone in our family owned one. It was how we had found one another after the world went to hell.
I remembered the Christmas theme: handmade gifts only. Millie made compasses for a living, but she didn’t break the rules.
I had gifted books of poetry. My brother argued they should have been individually hand-written and bound. I’d had them printed. That was cheating. Ha! Let him handwrite and bind fifteen books!
By the way, he baked cookies. I knew he’d used a mix, but I didn’t protest!
Remembering hurt; there’d be no Christmas this year.
I had other things to deal with. First, cross the lake. Somewhere over there was a pharmacy, where I prayed I’d find insulin for my mother.
“My kingdom for a raft,” I muttered.
There was nothing to do except go around, and I knew that was going to take hours. I settled my backpack and started walking.
The breeze picked up and slapped water rhythmically against the stony shoreline. Inspired, I sang a tune that matched the beat. I moved faster.
Still, it was a long walk. It got dark. I constantly checked the compass to make sure I didn’t walk past the point where I’d need to veer off to get to town.
Imagine my delight when I discovered the boat at that very point. I inspected it and put it into the water to make sure it was sea-worthy. I pulled it out once I knew it would float, and stashed it safely.
Whatever else happened, I wouldn’t have to walk back!