Microfiction Friday: “Past The Breakers”

I thought about writing a post dealing with our ever-more-quickly declining political sphere.  I thought about it, then I decided even my all-star level of cynicism wasn’t quite up to dealing with the most recent event of bombs mailed to anti-Trump figures.  Nope…I mean, just how many times can I repeat “We’re fucked” before I start to go insane?

I thought, also, about writing a semi-humorous post on the topic of “Who Is The Coolest Person Ever.”  But…well…I mean, c’mon — we all know it’s Miles Davis, and anyone who says different is either nuts, or selling something.  Or probably both…

Ah, hell…screw it.  I’m a fiction writer, and I’ve been thinking about meaning and subtext all day.  Maybe it’s time to go back to the basics:

Past The Breakers

The boy was afraid of the waves.  He’d always been afraid of the waves, and always would be, he thought.  His brothers swam and played out in the waves, tried to draw him in, but his faltering legs refused to move deeper into the sea.

What if I fall? he thought.  What if the water gets me?

Water to his ankles…warm sand and even warmer sun…all the comfort of other kids, and their parents, close around him.  There was safety where he was, even if that safety lacked the daring of his brothers.

He ran and played in the shallows, but always with the soundtrack of those familiar voices shouting and calling, “Come out with us!  You can handle the waves, that’s where the fun is!”

Tears, then, of frustration and fear…and of anger.  If he never left the shallows, how would he know if the waves truly were fun?  How would he know if he could ever overcome them?  How would he know?

Water to his knees, then to his hips, and a wave knocked him down.  A spit of salty water and he climbed to his feet, anger pushing the fear far behind him.  Soon, his feet left the sand and he was swimming, ducking under the waves as they broke above him, then surfacing for a gasp of air.

His brothers had been right!  It wasn’t just fun, it was exhilarating, and he threw everything he had into his frolicking battle with the sea.  He felt tremendous, he felt…powerful.  A look around and he realized he’d done it, he’d swum father than any of his brothers!  He felt like he could do anything.

A moment more and that excitement faded as quickly as it had come.  There were no more waves to battle.  There was no more exhilaration, nor excitement.  There was no more anger.  There was just fear, and an incomprehensible sense of loss.

The voices calling to him from the shore were tiny and incomprehensible, too distant to hear.  His arms were beginning to numb, and his legs wouldn’t kick properly.  He was exhausted, he discovered.  Although the waves were gone, the ocean still moved, and with every heave the waters washed over him, higher and higher.  

He heard a voice, then, barely.  One single voice, that of a brother, “…he’s too far out…”

Too far out.

Another heave of the sea, and he slipped under.

The voices called and called, the shouts turning to shrieks and cries, but nothing could penetrate the sea.

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