The Best Travel Agent
Mysterious Ways|February/March 2020
The lake caught my eye in a glint of January sunlight.
James Stuart Bell

Its glassy waters reflected the jagged Alps; a tiny island with a church sat in the center. It was Lake Bled in Yugoslavia, shining up from the pages of a National Geographic on my parents’ coffee table. My wife, Margaret, and I were visiting my family in New Jersey. I was on winter break from school in Ireland, where I was getting a master’s degree in English literature at University College Dublin.

Margaret and I were young, spontaneous newlyweds. We hadn’t yet planned a honeymoon. Classes weren’t in session again until February. And something about the image spoke to me. “Let’s go there!” I said, pointing to the lake. Margaret agreed.

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