28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand Read Online (FREE)
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Summer #28: 2020
What are we talking about in 2020? Kobe Bryant, Covid-19, social distancing, Zoom, TikTok, Navarro cheerleading, and… The presidential election. A country divided. Opinions on both sides. It’s everywhere: on the news, on the late-night shows, in the papers, online, online, online, in cocktail-party conversations, on college campuses, in airports, in line at Starbucks, around the bar at Margaritaville, at the gym (the guy who uses the treadmill at six a.m. sets TV number four to Fox News; the woman who comes in at seven a.m. immediately switches it to MSNBC). Kids stop speaking to parents over it; couples divorce; neighbors feud; consumers boycott; employees quit. Some feel fortunate to be alive at such an exciting time; they turn up the volume, become junkies. Others are sick of it; they press the mute button, they disengage. If one more person asks if they’re registered to vote…
Turns out, there’s a story this year that no one has heard yet. It’s a story that started twenty-eight summers earlier and that only now—in the summer of 2020, on an island thirty miles off the coast—is coming to an end.
The end. Under the circumstances, this feels like the only place to start.
Mallory Blessing tells her son, Link: There’s an envelope in the third drawer of the desk. On the left. The one that sticks. They all stick, Link thinks. His mother’s cottage sits on a strip of land between ocean and pond; that’s the good news. The bad news is…humidity. This is a home where doors don’t close properly and towels never dry and if you open a bag of chips, you better eat them all in one sitting because they’ll be stale within the hour. Link struggles with the drawer. He has to lift it up and wiggle it side to side in order to get it open.
He sees the envelope alone in the drawer. Written on the front: Please call.
Link is confused. This isn’t what he expected. What he expected was his mother’s will or a sappy letter filled with sage advice or instructions for her memorial service.
Link opens the envelope. Inside is one thin strip of paper. No name, just a number.
What am I supposed to do with this? he wonders.
Okay, Link thinks. But who will answer? And what is Link supposed to say?
He would ask his mother, but her eyes are closed. She has fallen back to sleep.
Link walks out the back door of the cottage and along the sandy road that runs beside Miacomet Pond. It’s June on Nantucket—sunny and sixty-seven degrees, so the nights and early mornings are still chilly, although the irises are blooming among the reeds and there’s a pair of swans on the flat blue mirror of the pond.
Swans mate for life, Link thinks. This has always made them seem morally superior to other birds, although somewhere he read that swans cheat. He hopes that was an internet hoax.