Sarah Cahalan '14 | October 3, 2019
As the clouds darkened and the beach emptied of its last determined revelers, I raced into the gravel lot of a weatherbeaten seafood shack. Supermarkets are a far-off luxury in this corner of the island, and, the forecast being what it was, this rare grocery was more than a little picked over. Prying open the produce case, I grabbed two wimpy ears of corn and the last 10 new potatoes. A pound of scallops rounded out my haul, and I hurried to pay and get out, headed for the dead-end road that led to the rental I’d be in for the night. Perched on modest stilts, it hardly looked ready for a light breeze, but it would have to do. A storm was coming to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and I was 100 steps from the sand.
If this sounds like a scene from a Nicholas Sparks novel, that’s because it just about is. Nights in Rodanthe, Sparks’ 2002 bestseller, features almost these very events as its lead character readies for the hurricane barreling down on her oceanside escape.
But this story is all mine. I’d come to Rodanthe in an effort to learn more about the most famous member of Notre Dame’s Class of 1988, and learn I would. What I didn’t expect was just how much life on this trip would imitate art.
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