This story is by Deborah Morrison and was part of our 2022 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The black wet suit and diving belt lay crumpled on the closet floor. She gasped and her heart sank seeing them there so carelessly tossed aside. Her eyes began tearing and quiet sobs took over as she sat down on the edge of the bed. “Damn abalone. Damn, damn abalone.” she said. “Such a stupid thing to die for.” “Are you OK?” her husband came and sat down with her. “No and I won’t be for a long time.” He silently hugged her tight and they sat for a long, long time that way, in the dark quiet room.
The three men silhouetted by the lowering sun, walked slowly down the path toward the ocean waves. A group of three oyster catchers flew overhead in their own silent procession. The men made their way down the cliff to the water’s surface carrying the precious ashes silently, heads bent. She watched as long as she could, tears overcoming her and forcing her to look away, towards the home he had built and loved. Its windows like eyes watching the sad cliff-side ceremony, grieving the emptiness. Its rooms silent. The big kitchen clean and cleared of all the wonderful smells and tastes he created there so many times. The powerful, loving force of this man’s energy gone forever.
Sleep was hard that night. Tossing and turning, eyes wet with tears and wide open, her ears heard every sigh and moan of the house as it wept along with her. The waves of the ocean singing their sad lament. In the early hours sleep finally came and the world of dreams covered her like a sweet warm blanket. Then he was there, standing before her, his big smile and scraggly beard and hair all askew just like it always was before the fateful dive. “Don’t cry.” he said. “I’m still here. Here in the ocean, the waves, the birds and in every glass of wine you sip.” he laughed his deep belly laugh. “Make sure you remember me and live your life with these things. And don’t be too hard on the abalone. It was worth it.” His form faded in the early light as her eyes opened to a new day.
Susan Pugh-Rankin says
I loved your story, Deborah. You portrayed the feelings of losing someone so well that it really touched my heart. I felt like I was there, experiencing the sadness that she felt after losing Ray, but also feeling like we got to know him as a person through your descriptions and dialogue. Well done.
Susan Pugh-Rankin says
You portrayed the feelings of losing someone so well that it really touched my heart. I felt like I was there, experiencing the sadness that she felt after losing Ray, but also feeling like we got to know him as a person through your descriptions and dialogue. Well done.