by Colleen Ennis

As I get off the boat and jump up onto the dock, I see it. An old, rundown house. As I approach it, I see that the veranda has rotted away and finally collapsed to the ground. The little bit of beige paint left on the siding is peeling off and the felt from the roof is everywhere beneath my feet. I think to myself, ‘Why would anyone want a place like this?“

I open the door only to be faced with the damp heat and smell of must and mold accumulated over years of solitude. There is a cover of dust over everything, and spider webs can be seen through the sunlight that seeps through the ragged, mustard-colored curtains.

I head towards the bathroom, which only contains a bathtub, no toilet due to the lack of running water. As I peer into the bathtub, I see a dead rat which must have fallen in and could not get back up. The rat's face is down in the drain. He must have died trying to escape. By now I'm realizing that this place is pretty bad, not even a rat can survive.

The bedrooms appear no better than the rest of the house. Stuffing from the pillows and mattresses is strewn all over the room. This is a result of the damage the rats had done before they died. There is also a puddle of water in the middle of the floor created from the leak in the roof.

Now I really begin to re-question myself. ‘What kind of person would want a place like this?“ I know the answer to this question. Me, that's who! The preceding winter, when my father had received a call from a man who wanted to buy the land our cabin was on to build a retirement home, I refused to allow it to go ahead. Although I hadn't been to Merasheen for five years and everyone kept talking of how run down the cabin was becoming, I did not want it sold. It is my heritage.

For those three weeks my father and I spent in Merasheen that summer, we worked really hard and fixed up the cabin. I am glad I stuck to my decision and didn't allow the cabin to be sold. Now I can anticipate my summer vacations on a beautiful, secluded island.