Prompt – Craft a short story about the final day of summer.
Sigh, yet another poorly written book, full of misspellings, grammar errors and jarring viewpoint shifts. Why is it so hard to find a good written book lately? I looked over at my wife on the other end of the couch. She was knitting a scarf, or was it a hat? Meanwhile, she glanced up at the tv occasionally watching yet another one of her daytime soaps. I couldn’t stand those things, that’s why I kept my hearing aids off whenever she turned on the tv.
I glanced out the window and it looked to be a beautiful day. We shouldn’t be sitting here in our retirement age sitting on the couch, reading bad books and watching tv all day long. In that instant, I made a decision.
Turning up my hearing aids, I turned and said to my wife, “Honey, it’s a beautiful day. Why don’t we go take a walk on the beach?”
She arched her eyebrow and looked sidelong at me, “The beach? I’m watching my soaps. Besides, are your knees up for the walk?”
Sighing, “Never mind about my knees, it’s the last day of summer and we haven’t walked the beach once this year. You stream the soaps, so you can pause it and watch after.”
Pursing her lips in thought, she looked at my face for a long moment. “Perhaps we could go for a short walk, it has been a long time.”
We got our shoes on and light weight jackets and drove to the beach. I was right, it was beautiful there with the softly roaring of the waves, the fresh air and feel of sand on our bare feet. We had taken off our shoes after crossing the soft sand to the packed sand near the water’s edge. Slowly we walked along, side by side. We didn’t hold hands as we did many years ago. She was looking at the surf and a guy on a kite surfer in the distance.
Suddenly I stopped. With creaking knees, I stooped down and picked up a perfect starfish. It had to be at least six inches across. My wife had stopped a couple of paces after I did, perhaps sensing I wasn’t next to her any more. I held out my hand and she grasped it to help me back standing. Handing her the starfish, I watched her eyes light up. A smile appeared that bespoke of pure joy. I couldn’t help but grin.
As she examined the starfish, I twisted my head to work out a kink in my neck. I spied a young man sitting on the beach about twenty yards from us. He was writing and occasionally glancing at us. Curious as to what he was writing, I slipped my hand in my wife’s hand and gave her a gentle tug toward the man. As he was sitting on the soft sand, it was slow going. Halfway to him, he stopped writing and looked up at us. I waved my other hand in greeting and kept trudging toward him.
“Hello young man. I’m sorry to bother you, but I felt an overwhelming desire to know what you are writing.”
The young man looked down at his notebook and back up at me. Wordlessly, he handed the notebook to me. He said, “It’s a character sketch. I come down here to the beach and pick out a person or a couple and describe them and imagine what their life is like.”
“Hmmph, I’ve never heard of such a thing. Are you an author?”, I inquired.
He shook his head, “No, I’m an aspiring writer but hope to be published one day.”
I looked down at what he had written. Surprisingly, it had no misspellings. The grammar was almost perfect. He had described my wife and I to the tee. I handed back his notebook to him and looked off into the distance for a minute thinking.
“Young man, you are not an aspiring writer at all.” I declared. With that, his face fell in disappointment. My wife grinned and gave me a small punch in my arm.
I chuckled and said, “You are a writer, a darn good one. Right now you are an aspiring author, but I think one day you will be a great author. Thank you for letting me read a small part of your writings.”
His eyes widened and his mouth opened as in shock. Maybe no one had ever told him that he was talented. I saluted him with two fingers and turned to walk back near the shore. My wife slipped her hand in mine as we walked. We both had smiles on our faces, mine from reading well written words and hers from having a perfect starfish.
“I don’t know why we don’t come to the beach more often. Why is it that we only seem to come on the last day of summer?”, I mused.
My wife laughed, “Because dear, you’ll be on your back for the next week with aching knees or have you forgotten the last five summers?”
I stopped and drew her hands towards my face and gave her a kiss on her knuckles. “I do remember, dear. I’m not going senile yet. I only wish I could come more often just to see you smile.”
She grinned even more broadly, “I do love you Henry, and I know you love me, even if you never say it. Let’s go home, it’s time to get you off your legs and eat supper.”
As we started to exit the beach, I turned and looked back. I wondered if this was the last time I would ever get to go to the beach. At my age, I was slowing down more and more. I treasured this last day of summer at the beach. Peering down at my wife, I knew I had to say something.
“Grace, I love you.”
Want to be part of the Weekly Writing Challenge? Using the prompt above, write your story and publish it with a link to this story. Make sure you tag it either md-wwc or #md-wwc