Good bye by oliver818
Flash Fiction - A Secret contest entry
Artwork by GaliaG at FanArtReview.com
There wasn't much my father didn't tell me on those summer afternoons. He talked constantly as his big hands baited hooks, unhooked crimson snapper and pulled me back from the edge when bigger than normal waves rolled in. As a twelve year old, that was heaven, if it hadn't been for that one thing. I had a secret.
Last year I returned to the beach house. The place was smaller than I remembered. Smoke rose from a barbecue, and a father laughed as his children played.
Sunlight slipped in through the thick leaves as I walked along the tree line down to the rocks. My flip flops slipped on the wet rocks as I headed out towards the end of the outcrop. The long antennae of a lobster poked through thick kelp when I leapt out to the farthest rock, the one we had spent all those afternoon on.
I tugged the letter from my pocket. The yellowed edges cracked as I straightened it out. My childish writing spread across it.
Far above, pine trees ran up from a cliff edge. I might head up there later to reflect, when the sun began to fade, and the clouds glowed orange like liquid metal.
"This is private property, son. You can't just come on my land." A man with steely eyes and torn jeans stared at me from the rocks opposite.
"Sorry, it's just my father and I used to come here. I came to pay my respects to him."
"You ever heard of asking for permission? You could be anyone, and I've got kids."
"Sorry, I'll go if you want." I pushed myself up, carefully folding the letter and pushing it back into my pocket.
"No, take your time. I just wanted to be sure you weren't some creep. Come on up to the house for a beer before you go."
"Thanks, I just might."
I pulled out the letter.
"Dad," I began to read. "I know you are dying, because I heard you and Mum talking about it the other night. You haven't told me, and I think I know why, but to be honest, I wish you would tell me. You talk to me all the time, but I can't listen anymore because all I want to do is throw my arms around you and beg you not to die. I don't know if I will give you this letter, I don't want you to be angry with me for eavesdropping. But I love you, and I will never forget the time we spent fishing on the rocks. Your loving son, Leon."
The paper slipped from my fingers. Dad would never see it, he died ten years ago. Water soaked into it, dragging it down below the surface. The sun was still high as I headed up towards the house.
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