Friday, October 02, 2009

Evening on the Lake

He pulled the small boat away from the dock and headed out onto the lagoon. They'd talked about doing this, he and his wife, over the years. It was time he'd actually done something about it.

The wind off the Bay blew the few strands of hair he had left into his eyes. The sun was settling behind the hills to the west, pinks and golds decorating the undersides of a few high clouds.

He turned the boat, the small electric motor making little sound, and the wind blew his hair back.

"Colder this year, than others," he said.

The corner of his eye caught the nod of his wife's head.

"Should have gotten this sooner," he murmured. He'd get no argument on that from her.

The waves lap-laped against the side of the boat as it headed down the channel, away from the main lake. Other boats, larger, with canopies, and tables even, passed by, heading the other way.

He waved. The occupants waved back in the easy friendliness of shared seafaring. He and his wife had watched these boats for years, sitting by the water, waving to those making their leisurely way from the lagoon, through the channels to the lake.

"We should do that, sometime," she'd said, more than once. And he'd agreed. "Sometime."

"Here now," he said, keeping a firm eye forward. He knew, if he turned around, she'd be there, watching him, watching their slow and quiet progress over the water.

"'Bout time." His ear caught her quiet voice, even over the sound of the wind. He nodded. "I know, I know. There were always other priorities." He paused a moment.

"Until there weren't."

"It was habit, I suppose," he said, "my putting things off."

Her voice came to him, quiet. "It's who you are. Some things don't change."

He stared ahead a little longer, the wind rocking the small boat from side to side. A few optimistic gulls screeched overhead, banking sharply as they turned in pursuit of better pickings.

The day was fading now and some of the other boats had their hulls trimmed with bright, cheerful lights.

"I was there." He spoke very softly. "I was there, when it mattered. Wasn't I?"

The old man, alone, piloted the boat along the channel, darkness and memory gathering about him.

14 comments:

  1. Oh this is a beautiful piece. Thank you.

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  2. This reminds me of a prose poem, the feel of it. Memories and regrets can have such a bite, like frost. Thanks for reminding us what are priorities are. ;)

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  3. Very very good. Poignant and beautifully done. "Lap-laped" made me smile but the most touching line was "I was there, when it mattered" - great stuff. I did think he had her body in the boat with him but then I'm from the darker end of fiction writing ;-)

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  4. I thought the body was there too until the last well done. I think the tense is a bit out of whack in the first par. Try: "It was time to actually do something about it.'

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  5. Regrets - and the hope that he was there when it mattered. Very poignant. Beautiful.

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  6. subtle..and powerful. very solid write.

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  7. Thanks everyone. I am glad you enjoyed the piece and I really appreciate your comments.

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  8. Such a beautiful piece. I also thought her body was with him,then to learn he asked: "I was there, when it mattered. Wasn't I?" to the universe was so poignant.
    ~chris

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  9. This was beautiful, and very timely for me in life as I've been trying to get my aging parents to enjoy life. Maybe I'll send a link to your story to my father. :-)

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  11. Nicely written, Kevin, as always. I particularly liked how he refused to turn and look at her. I bit of guilt there, me thinks.

    Never put off until tomorrow what can be enjoyed today.
    ~jon

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  12. What a sad, sweet story. Loved it.

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  13. Thank you all for the comments. I am glad you found the piece beautiful. I have to admit, I like it myself.

    More of that melancholy I guess.

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  14. I always enjoy your fine metaphoric sense. This is a gem.

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