Today is the eighth day of the phenomenal Watch "RWISA" Write Showcase Tour! Each day for the next ten days, you will be introduced to an incredible author and a new writing piece. Join me in welcoming PTL Perrin today! :-)
By P.T.L. Perrin
Eden backed her Boston
Whaler, Eden’s End, away from the dock, swung her nose into the current
and gave the outboard a little gas. Still in the no-wake zone, her granddaughter
hung over the side near the stern and trailed her hand in the water.
“Leigh, a shark’s
gonna bite that thing right off.”
“No, it won’t. See
the dolphins alongside?” She pointed her dripping finger at a pair of breeching
dolphins. “Everyone knows they protect folks from sharks.”
Eden shook her
head, grinned, and watched the sleek bodies leap through gray water until the
pod outdistanced them. She’d never heard of a shark this far up the intracoastal,
but she enjoyed teasing Leigh, even if the girl didn’t like it much. Besides, she
wouldn’t have to put up with it after tonight. Her heart dropped at the
Right now, they
needed to get into the channel where she could open the throttle and let her
fly. They’d need a bit of speed to get through the chop at the inlet’s mouth.
“Where’d you stash
the drinks, baby girl? I’m thirsty.”
“Coke or ginger
ale?” Leigh reached into the cooler behind the captain’s bench and waited for
“We have any
wrinkled her nose and stuck her tongue out. At thirteen, she didn’t care for
plain water. She grabbed a coke for herself and tossed the water toward the
captain’s bench, where her grandma easily caught it.
“Come up here with
me.” Eden scooted over, but Leigh grabbed the canopy support bar and stood next
to her to wave to passing vessels.
They entered the
main channel and accelerated. “Look at them all!” Leigh held tight to the support
with one hand and with the other, pointed out small boats like theirs, yachts
and excursion ships heading out to sea. “I’ve never seen so many in the channel
all at once. Is all this for the sunset?”
answer. She glanced at her granddaughter and wished she could keep this moment
forever. Evening light bathed Leigh’s face in a gentle glow, the pink in her
cheeks showing through the Florida tan she wore summer and winter. Her luminous
eyes, the same amber as the natural streaks in her sun-bleached hair, crinkled
at the corners as she squinted at the water. She’d be a beauty in a couple
years and Eden had looked forward to scaring the sin out of any boys with the
wrong idea. Just another thing she’d never get to do.
The chop demanded her
attention, so she drove while Leigh held on and whooped every time their bow
hit another wave. The sea calmed when they reached the Gulf of Mexico, and they
found a spot to drift about a hundred yards out, away from other vessels. The
current turned the stern toward the northwest, where they had a perfect view of
the horizon to the west and the inlet to the east.
Eden moved to the
cushioned top of the cooler in the aft cockpit. Leigh joined her, pretended to
push her off with her hip, and settled close. She sipped her coke while her
grandma threw an arm around her in a hug.
The ocean breeze
played with Eden’s short hair and blew tendrils of Leigh’s long hair across her
chest. Eden reached into her jeans pocket and pulled out a hair tie.
“Turn around, baby
girl. You don’t want hair in your eyes just as the sun sinks, do you?” Leigh leaned
forward while her grandma caught her hair back in a tail. She reached for a blanket
bunched on a corner seat.
The breeze is a little cool.” Leigh pulled it over their laps.
A bank of cumulous
clouds towered to the east, each layer a living painting, shifting through
pink, purple, orange, and salmon in majestic slow motion. A low swell slapped
against the hull, a rhythmic percussion to the visual symphony.
Eden took several
deep breaths, enjoying the tang of salt air with a hint of seaweed. The scent
of grilling fish tickled her nose. Her mouth watered and her stomach rumbled.
They’d eat with Leigh’s parents later, at one of the seafood places on the main
dock. A special treat.
Leigh snuggled close
to Eden, who pulled the lightweight blanket up to cover her girl’s shoulders.
“Are all endings
hard before she could answer. “Not all.”
“Like what? Name
some happy endings.”
Eden dug past the lump
in her heart to find one or two. “When the prince kisses the princess and they
live happily ever after. When the hero escapes from the dungeon.”
Leigh slapped her
arm. “I mean for real.” She turned her gaze toward the setting sun, now barely
touching the horizon’s edge. “I can think of lots of sad endings. Like when we
had to leave our friends in Minnesota. And when Scruffy ran away. And when…”
“Farmers are happy when a drought ends. And what about the end of an icy cold
winter? You had those in Minnesota, remember.”
“Oh, yeah. But the
end of snow wasn’t so happy.”
Eden grabbed her granddaughter’s
hand and pointed toward the sun, now a half-circle sitting on a dark line.
“Every ending starts
a new beginning.” Just saying it lifted her own spirits a tiny bit.
Leigh picked up on
it. “School starts at the end of summer. I like school.”
weather,” Eden reminded her.
when night ends. I’ll be fourteen when thirteen ends.”
“And we’ll meet in
heaven when life ends.” Eden wanted to take back the words as soon as they left
her mouth. She sucked air in thick gulps to keep from bursting into tears. She
felt her granddaughter tremble.
Leigh’s face toward her and kissed her forehead. She kissed each precious cheek
and wiped her tears away with her thumbs. “You know I’ll always love you, don’t
you? Everything I have is yours, and no matter what, we’ll see each other
“Death is a sad
ending, Grandma. I don’t care what the next beginning is. I don’t want you to
go.” Leigh covered her face with her hands, bent over her grandma’s lap and
sobbed, shudders racking her body and tearing the heart out of Eden.
Sunset isn’t over yet.”
Leigh sat up,
wiped her eyes, and took a shuddering breath. Eden’s heart swelled with love
and pride at her granddaughter’s courage as the ocean swallowed the last sliver
of sun, leaving the eastern clouds a gray canvas. There should have been more
Eden returned to
the console and started the engine.
“Wait, Grandma. Can’t
we wait for the stars to come out? I need more time.”
Eden turned the
key off and wrapped her arms around Leigh’s slender body. They sank to the
deck, neither trying to control the eruption of grief tearing at their cores.
When their sobs
turned to hiccups and they let each other go, Eden lifted Leigh’s chin and
pointed to the sky. “Look at that magnificence, baby girl. God’s story written
in the stars. You’re there, and so am I.”
“What do you mean,
“Our last sunset
is an ending, but tomorrow’s a new day for both of us. I’m going home very soon,
and you have a long life ahead with happy endings and beautiful beginnings.
Leigh sighed and
snuggled close. “And we’ll meet again. In heaven, right?”
Eden returned to her bench and turned on the engine. “I’m hungry and your
parents must be starving. How about you?”
stood, and held on to the support. “I love you, Grandma.”
Leigh backed her
whaler, Eden’s Dawn, from the dock and headed to the channel where she
joined a smattering of fishing boats, her lights joining theirs on the way to
the Gulf. Her daughter snored softly, asleep beside her on the bench. Leigh
tapped her shoulder to wake her.
getting to the chop.”
stretched and yawned, jumped to the deck, held on to the support, and whooped
at every wave they hit until they reached calm water.
Faith pointed at the pretty box on the console that held Grandma’s ashes.
“Soon.” Leigh headed
out until land was a smudge to the east and cut the engine. “Now, Sweetie.”
Leigh and Faith
held the box over the stern together. Leigh kissed it, and they dropped it into
the ocean while the sun rose behind a cloud bank, its golden rays streaming out
to paint the morning sky pink and orange.
Leigh hugged her
daughter as the box sank beneath the waves. “Goodbye, Grandma. We love you.”
Faith reached up
and held her mother’s face between her small hands. “Are you sad, Mommy?”
“A little. But
every ending starts a new beginning.”
Leigh lifted Faith
to the bench, kissed her, and turned Eden’s Dawn toward home.
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