Touch Screen coming in late winter 2015
Under the Moonlight: Take 1
Gavin Scott daydreamed as he looked out the French doors at the bright sunlight and the blue waters of Lake Michigan. It was summertime in northern Michigan and he smiled to himself. Summer brought back memories of time spent in cool water, days in warm sunshine, and nights under yellow moonlight. Summer also brought back memories of her. She’d left him long ago, or rather he’d let her go. It wasn’t like it was yesterday. It was years ago. Seven, but who was keeping track? Either way, she was gone from his life, but not from his memories.
The informative speaker rambled on from the podium and Gavin shifted in the banquet chair. It was warm inside the Baycove Convention Center. The heat index had been 100 degrees the day before and it was predicted to be just as warm today. The sun’s rays against the three large glass doors increased the temperature. Even the speaker had beads of sweat on his forehead. Gavin continued to stare out the window.
He knew he should be concentrating. Listening. It was a gathering of all the film directors presenting films at the independent film festival in Traverse City. Gavin found it ironic that he went all the way to California to study film and direction only to end up back in Michigan, some thirty minutes south of his hometown, to premiere his first film.
Elk Rapids was a small town of less than one thousand people in the northwest region of Lower Michigan. In a small town with big dreams, Gavin had to leave the family cherry farm for the great movie metropolis of Los Angeles and film school at UCLA. He was a small fish in a big pond, as the saying goes, when he first got to the university, and he learned immediately he had a lot to learn. But he refused to let the big city beat him. He was determined he would be successful.
And he was. He was releasing his first independent film just five years after graduation, under the financial backing of his girlfriend’s father, Zeke Steinmann, one of the most successful finance company owners in LA. Zoe Steinmann had been almost everything Gavin ever wanted in a girlfriend. Almost. She was Californian royalty from Beverly Hills with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a permanent light tan. She was fashionable, high society, and very photogenic. She hardly made a move without someone flashing a camera in her face, and Gavin was often the man on her arm in those photos. Together for three years, Gavin knew he was lucky to have Zoe in his life.
He looked around the room filled with other up-and-coming film-wannabes. There were guest speakers from various categories of film study, direction, and production. Film students would be present at some of the seminars as well as amateurs who were just curious about cinema history, but this particular introduction session was for featured film presenters only. Full of directions and schedules and menus.
A golf outing was scheduled for the afternoon following a buffet lunch. Gavin’s tee-time was early and the speaker was running late. He would have to skip lunch and head to the course. His stomach was already rumbling from his morning coffee. His thoughts continued to wander to the mandatory dinner he knew he had to attend tonight with his parents, when out of the corner of his eye he saw a young woman and a little boy walk onto the old outdoor dance floor.
Located several yards away from the conference room, the cement base structure was surrounded by sand and covered with a white canvas, tent-like canopy. He imagined in his director’s eye a wooden boardwalk attaching to the main hotel sidewalks. The dance structure and soft white bulbs would light the large circular area for the resort visitors in their antiquated clothing as they danced a waltz.
The woman and the boy seemed like they were here for just that – a little old-fashion dancing. She was talking to him, pointing to the banquet hall, and looking upward to what Gavin assumed was the hotel above. The child started to laugh and she grabbed him by his little arms and positioned one hand in hers and the other at her waist. His head was just above her waist. He was giggling and beaming with smiles as he looked up at her. It was obvious she was leading him around and his short legs were tangling behind him in a silly manner.
Eventually she tickled him under the arm around her waist, and in his laughter, she dipped him over one of her own arms. Gavin could tell by the expression on the little boy’s face he was laughing hysterically. The woman bent over and kissed the little one several quick times on his cheek and neck, then pulled him upward. The boy now wanted to dance more, and with stiff legs, he twirled the woman around and around. They were oblivious to the convention room full of people just inside the glass doors.
Gavin wiped a line of sweat that now dripped down the side of his face with his index finger. Was the air conditioning even on in this room? he wondered as he turned from side to side to see if others in the room noticed the woman and the boy. Gavin wasn’t the only one watching them outside under the white canvas canopy. Several others near him had now shifted their eyes to watch the blonde haired beauty twirl and dip her blond-headed little boy. His dark brown eyes were visible even from this distance and his little face glowed with dimples. Other directors seemed dazed by the monotone voice of the speaker and the heat. He almost laughed out loud at how comatose his colleagues looked. As the speech drew to its’ conclusion, Gavin saw an opportunity to get up and walk outside.
He felt drawn to the woman and the boy. He exited one of the French doors and walked along the walkway under another canopy. The woman and the boy did not seem to notice him. He tried to stay behind the column supports for the overhang shading this portion of the sidewalk as he peered nonchalantly at the beach. He glanced in their direction enough to notice wisps of her blond hair around her tan face blowing out of her ponytail. She kept her eyes downward, focused on the boy, but he noticed they had the same nose. Gavin thought it safe to assume this was her child.
She dipped the boy again and Gavin heard his strong childish laughter. It was infectious and Gavin smiled to himself. The woman kissed the boy again with several small pecks on the cheek and the neck, only now Gavin could hear the sounds the mother made, loud and exaggerated with each brush of her lips. The boy laughed harder, saying No, No, No, but he squealed his enjoyment of each kiss and wanted more. She stood him upright and the child wrapped his arm around his mother, starting to dance with stiff legs. Again, the child said, but the mother replied they needed to get back. They held hands as they stepped off the dance floor and into the white sand. Gavin had not noticed they were both barefoot, and the woman bent down to pick up two pairs of shoes. She handed the child his and carried hers through her fingers. There was something strangely familiar about her as she walked across the sand away from Gavin toward the water line of the lake.
He stood straighter now, no longer leaning behind the barrier. He did not even notice how much warmer he was outside in the blazing morning sun in his gray summer suit. As he took a step off the walkway into the sand, forgetting his leather dress shoes, the woman turned toward the child, walking backwards. Her tan legs were graceful under her white shorts. She stopped and looked in the direction of the hotel. The child broke free of her hand and started running across the freshly combed beach toward the lake’s small white caps.
The woman shielded her eyes as if looking at something behind Gavin. As he walked all the way to the dance floor through the sand in his slipping leather shoes, he balanced on the edge of the cement structure with his soles. He kept his gaze on her and she slowly put her hand down after she tucked a piece of hair behind her ears. Gavin realized she was not looking behind him, but at him. The way she tucked her hair behind her ear made her recognizable. Britton. Britton McKay had returned to northern Michigan. And so had Gavin Scott.