After a while, Freda rejoined them. She was quiet, didn’t want to talk. Marie heard Anne say she would come back and pick her up that afternoon, after her work was over. Then she and Anne took a long walk around the point of land that jutted out into the sea near the Viking settlement. It was lovely. Birds pitching and diving overhead, the smell of the ocean, a steady offshore breeze stirring the grasses. Up and down craggy little trails, over mosses, alone the two of them. It is funny how sometimes a quiet distraction gave her mind a chance to catch up with things. They found a pair of red Adirondack chairs posed to look over the water and sat down.
“Were you ever a girl scout?” Anne asked. Her eyes were closed, sun turned toward the basking sun.
“No,” Marie said. “But we would go hiking and canoeing at the cabin in Vermont. And campfires. I don’t think Father enjoyed it that much, but Mother and I did. It was my favorite thing in summer. She knew the names of all the flowers and plants and would get excited when she found something rare.”
Marie laughed. “To tell the truth, I never really learned the plant names. But Mother was so excited by it that she just swept me along. I just like to look at things. I don’t need to know their names.”
“Our girl scout troop went to a camp in Vermont,” Anne said. “And there was someone always trying to teach us about nature and point out the constellations in the sky and all I could think was how great it was to be there with my friends. Girls I didn’t know became like sisters. We took our sleeping bags out on the lawn, watching the stars turning slowly.”
“What is that?” she asked, pointing toward an iceberg.
“I think it’s an iceberg,” Anne said. “But I’ve never seen one before.”
“Some girl scouts we turned out to be,” Anne said.
Marie thought that was a funny thing to say, and liked to think of herself and Anne as young friends. “I get afraid sometimes,” she confided. “At first, I was afraid that people would find out, but now I’m more worried about what I won’t remember or know anymore.”
“I’ll always be here to help you, Marie.” Anne reached her hand across the gap between the two red Adirondack chairs and Marie joined her. “Everybody daydreams, it’s no big deal. Lots of times at church I have no idea what’s going on. I’m just admiring the stained-glass windows and wondering what Reverend Mapes has on under his robes.”
Marie laughed. A little a first. Then more.
“If you tell him that, I’ll say you’re a crazy old woman who hears voices.” Anne shook her hand, letting her know it was a joke.