I headed down the snow covered steps to the shore.
It was dark, nearing midnight, and snow was falling once more. My hands were full - a beverage to share in my left, my house key and AM/FM running radio in my right. I considered I should be holding onto the rail, but instead, I was flipping through radio stations, hoping to find a good sound track to accompany me on my way to meet up with the guy from down the shore. Being in the middle of nowhere I only get 7 or 8 stations. I try to avoid country, but sometimes it's my only option.
By the time I hit step 4 I had found a station, but lost my footing. I slipped and fell on the steps, and as I did my house key flew out of my hand somewhere into the white abyss surrounding me. "Oh shit." I cussed aloud. This isn't good. How in the world am I going to find my key?
Typically I leave a door unlocked when I head down the shore, but since I had posted something on facebook about being home alone for the week, I thought it would be smart to lock up all the doors. And, rather than grabbing my own set of keys, on my way out I locked the side door with a spare house key - THE spare house key.
I searched the steps, hoping the key was within reach, but no such luck. I peered over the railing hoping to see a dent or an impression where the key had landed. But again, it was dark. I couldn't see much of anything.
I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket and used its light to survey the area. It wasn't much help and decided I better call the guy from down the shore to explain my predicament. He hasn't acquired a cell phone since returning from his 10 year stint as a professor in Europe. (I loooove it that we never, ever text; I hate texting as much as I hate Ohio State's football team.) Thankfully, his land line was stored in my phone and he picked up immediately.
"Um... I had a bit of an incident." I explained. "I fell on the stairs, and I'm okay, but my house key flew out of my hand."
"Do you want me to come down with a flashlight and help you look for it? You're more than welcome to stay the night here."
"Um, I'm not sure a flashlight is going to help."
"Ah, so you probably won't find that key until spring - after the snow melts away."
"Perhaps. I'm going to look a bit more and call my parents, but I'll keep you posted."
I called my parents. No answer. They only turn their cell phone on when they want to make a call out - useless for kid emergencies. And for some reason both my brother and sister's cell phones were down and out. I opt to explore the hill, but in doing so I keep slipping and sliding, messing up the snow and any snow impressions the key might have made. Finally, I give up my search on the hill, and scour the outside of my parents home for an additional spare key. Under doormats, above ledges, and under pots - there should have been a key SOMEWHERE, but there wasn't. And so I ventured back down the steps to the shore, this time holding the rail. I had no other option, but to stay the night down the shore.
The lost key incident happened the middle of last week. Since then I've been able to get back in the house AND complete the storyline for my third book. I shared the plot with my friend Amy on Sunday morning. She asked, "What would you call it - the key?" I said I wasn't sure, but after going for an afternoon run and passing this sign along the way, I'm thinking, "The Key" sounds perfect