By Kevin Cooke

It was dusk, and I was done. Totally emptied. There wasn’t an emotion left in me. I grabbed a beer and headed out onto the deck. October had been cool enough to keep the mosquitoes down, so sitting out there was tolerable.

The house was set high enough above the dunes that I had a good shot of the water to the west, with a barrier beach on one side and a flat calm bay stretching away to the horizon. I sat and waited for the water to extinguish the sun.

I took a deep pull on the beer and set it between my legs, safe from spilling. Watching the sun at this time of the evening didn’t seem as dangerous as at midday. I’d still wake up in the morning with my sight intact. It didn’t matter to me. Nothing much did anymore. I didn’t even pay attention to my breathing. At this point, my body was on its own, and if it wanted to keep going, that was fine with me.

My world had started with my boat and the sea. It was on the way up that I took on Meredith, and the sun shone twenty-four hours a day for quite a while. Along the way, she brought aboard a dog, along with all of the unconditional love that goes with such a creature. The weight of the dog’s big head on my leg at night was great comfort.

It took me four months to lose Meredith. She was more of a trouper than I was, and even though I promised her, I couldn’t make that voyage out to scatter her ashes on the water that we had sailed together for so long. I kept her, right over there in that pot. Jordie made it for me, and for her to live in while I’m still around.

A storm took the boat, and a long life took the dog. I wake up these days when I have to, still feeling the weight of her head on me. I remember her as I make the morning coffee and stare out over the deck at the water. There’s no reason to look there. The dog, and for that matter Meredith also, are wherever I’m looking. They often go romping over the horizon before me as I walk along the beach.

The sun is touching the water now, and I imagine great billowing clouds of silent steam rising up to the sky. The roiling of the sea just makes the dark come faster. I take a sip of the beer, gone warm by now, and the bottle drops back down as I focus on the sun disappearing into the water. There is one final, brief flash of light as the dark takes us both to rest at last.

"flashfictionkevincooke"Kevin Cooke is a graduate of Syracuse University and Antioch Graduate School. Kevin lives in Belchertown with his wife Linda, and has been writing with Kathy Dunn’s Main Street Writers group in Amherst for six years. His collection of short fiction, Sweet Caroline, will be released this spring by LifeRich Publishing.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *