“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.” ~ Dalai Lama
Who would think that a trip to the bakery would have such a huge impact? Stephen, of 'A Pebble in the Water' by Lisa Gray, certainly doesn't expect his life to change by doing something extra special for his boyfriend. When he walks into the shop to purchase a spectacular and expensive cheesecake, the last thing he expects to see is his boyfriend, Emmett, seated at a table with another young man, kissing his fingers. In a flash, Stephen’s life changes forever.
Stephen knows his relationship with Emmett has been tenuous at best and plans a romantic getaway, in hopes of getting them back on the right track. When Stephen discovers his boyfriend with another man, he knows his plans are a moot point. While Stephen dives into the seventy-five dollar cheesecake, he ponders his relationship with Emmett, realizing things are much worse than he thought. Stephen finally admits Emmett, who he thought was the love of his life, is a selfish, lying, cheating jerk, who didn't deserve him anyway. This revelation makes him exceedingly sad. Stephen has tried so hard to find someone to spend his life with and failed miserably. He decides to take the trip to the cabin anyway, hopefully to put his life in perspective. As he contemplates the situation, Stephen sees that many of Emmet's comments are false; although one thing he said continuously, rings true; Stephen is boring. There are some things about himself that he can't do much about, but Stephen vows to stop being overly cautious and predictable.
Stephen explores the area around the cabin and finds an old building; inside is a kayak. Stephen has never been kayaking so he decides it will be his first “daring” venture on his step to become less boring. Throwing caution to the wind, Stephen gets in the kayak and rows down the river. The trip is so peaceful and calming it lures Stephen into a deep sleep. Stephen wakes up to swelling flood waters and debris crashing into the kayak. He scrambles to get control of the situation to no avail. Just when Stephen has all but given up, an older man, Mac, appears out of nowhere, calling Stephen's name. He rescues Stephen and gets him back to his cabin. Mac helps Stephen get settled, fed, and to bed. When Stephen wakes up the next morning, he's disoriented, then remembers his rescue the night before. Mac isn't there. Stephen is bewildered, but thankful for escaping with a new perception of how he wants to live from now on.
This is a short, well written story about a man who almost loses his life in order to find it. Stephen's anguish, self-doubt, anger, fear, and desire for someone to love almost made me cry. I enjoyed the ending, which was as surprising as it is mysterious, but happy for now with great promise for the future. If you like stories with strong emotions, character growth, and revelation, with a touch of something special, this one may appeal to you. Thanks, Lisa, for making me think.