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A View From The Garden (standard:fantasy, 816 words)
Author: CyranoAdded: Mar 04 2012Views/Reads: 4590/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Looking out beyond yesterday. Another hour with Lori.

I'm looking out on a clear day; the first in a few, with a sky swept
clean of cloud. The ocean, as far as can be imagined, is without 
malice. To the sailor in me that's a good thing. I have a bulkhead of 
memories in my brain full of tempestuous seas. My father was at home on 
the waves, but by his own admission he always felt a slight unnerving 
twitch when his vessel was caught in the trough; having almost 
free-fallen into a dark blue valley, and shuddered violently hitting 
the bottom of the crest. The sea, he always said, takes those who love 
her most. 

“Mr. there?” It's a voice I've come to know very well,
having taken up residency in my heart. 

“Hey Lori, sure I am, want to come over?” 

“Help me with the gate, Mr. Frank.” 

Lori pushes as I pull. She burst forth and years off my life simply
glide away, not because the child is angelic, not because she is 
without imperfection, an eye is cast, but because her young limbs 
stretch out, freeing herself in my garden to begin her games. It's 
always the same game; life goes on forever. 

“Hurry, Mr. Frank. Or you'll miss him!” 

“I'm coming, Lori. Miss who?” 

“He'll be gone an hour from now.” Lori's hand is reaching out to mine. 

“Well, we'd better hurry then.” I said. 

Mystery is all there is to mystery, unless you count on the coming of
it. As her tiny hand fits into mine the heart is transported, winging 
through a hole in the mist and overhead toward a hill that wasn't there 
an hour ago and will be gone an hour from now. 

From our vantage point I can see his vessel as clear as a Monet. Some
men turned for home when the winter came, he did not.  The sea held my 
father as surely as the shawl of ribbons held him at home. He cared 
nothing of the adverse implications that dogged mere humans; his blood 
was diluted with the salinity of the ocean. He taught me that the most 
‘hostile' environment is the one we ourselves live in and not the 
barren, hard, savage places. He never asked me about writing and quite 
honestly I never had much to say about it, how I do it, or even why. My 
father was never a difficult man to deal with; nor hard to please. He 
just made happiness a habit. 

“Why did you bring me here, Lori?” I ask, shading my eyes from the
burning in the sky. 

“I didn't bring you here Mr. Frank.” She says... a petal on the grass.
“He did...” her arm risen horizontal, its directing finger as sharp as 
a stab to my soul. He was my ocean and my stars, my God and all his 

Before the first day of school we took a picnic down to the harbor,
thick with tourists, the air's fragrance sun tan lotion and ice cream. 
We sat under the harbor wall, in the cool shade, and I paddled around 
waiting for dad; he was busy searching between the rocks, but I caught 
the expression on his face — an excited, gleaming smile as he came 
wading in to the water, his hands holding sea shells and sea pebbles. 
In the evening he told me stories about the mighty seas, describing 
those deep-sea fishes, those black, those blind creatures, 
un-acknowledged, but living all the same. I enjoyed the summers but far 
more, the winters — when the tourists had gone home, leaving us to cope 
with the prevailing winds, floods and storms that were an integral part 
of costal living — and when the sea was at its most powerful. 

“Hold my hand, son.” I smile and move toward him, taking hold, feeling
its strength, knowing all its work, and its beauty. “Put these in your 
back pocket, lad.” 

It's a moment, an hour long. 

Lori holds her hand open, raising it to me, a child befriending a man
who has the unique ability to lose himself in a mist that covers his 
reality. I have protected myself well. I will always be what I write; 
be made happy, sad, rich or poor, I am just what the words say and no 
longer feel any ambition to prove otherwise. 

In the garden, Lori is holding something in her hand. 

“What do you have there... in your other hand, Lori?” I ask. 

At the gate she holds open her hand. There are seven seashells; the same
seven seashells that sit on my desk in the study. 

I pull open the gate. 


“No, Mr. Frank, the man who gave them to me told me they were

My work gets done. Life moves along and there are times – a few minutes
every day – when I forget about Dad. Well, maybe less than a few.


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