Shady Lake

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 10, 2017

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Submitted: October 10, 2017

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The old man smiled pleasantly as he watched the Autumn colored world slip by through the passenger window of his old pickup. In his horn rimmed glasses, long billed khaki hat and favorite red Mackinaw, Howard was going camping with his oldest boy. It had been a long time since he had seen John. Howard looked over at his son and studied his face. The years hadn’t been kind to him. He had gotten old too and he looked tired. The old man had his arm out the window. He ran his hand over the body curve in the door with the tenderness of a familiar lover. He missed the old girl but never regretted leaving it to his son. He thought back on all those early fall nights in the old camper. Howard was glad John kept it and it still looked in great shape. He let his hand swim through the air rushing by like he had when he was a child and smiled at the memory and sensation. They passed the miles in silence.

The two of them spent the rest of the following day on Shady Lake. They watched the sun rise and then set from their padded seats in the old fourteen foot Klamath outboard boat. John got a few bites but caught nothing. ‘That guy and fish rarely saw eye to eye.’ Howard thought 'That was more his younger brother’s thing. John really didn’t care whether he caught a fish or not. He just came out here to be closer to his dad. Howard was just happy spending time in the outdoors with his boy like they use to. John headed back for the ramp.

Later that night the two sat across from each other. John poked at a log in the fire from his vintage folding chair and Howard watched as a million little sparks rose above them and added to the already starry night. John threw his half eaten liverwurst and cheese sandwich into the fire and said

“So, here we are again, dad, at camp Son-of-a-Bitch.” and chuckled. They both chuckled. Howard knew his sons had a name for this spot or any other spot they had camped at. Howard also knew why. He hadn’t always been the most fun to camp with when they were growing up. He knew he’d been hard when he should have been more fun. ‘But Regret is about as rare as a cool Autumn evening to an old man.’ Howard thought. John threw another log on the fire and cracked open a cold beer. They sat for another hour just staring into the fire. John tossed the last can of his six-pack into a pile with the others and prodded the smoking logs again. The dying fire came back to life for a moment casting light and shadows everywhere. Howard saw a change in his boy’s face. John spat into the fire and looked up into the beautiful night.

“Dad? I miss you.” he said in a shaky but sincere voice.

“I know, son.” Howard said into his boy’s heart.

John smiled for the first time in a long time and wiped his eyes for the millionth time, it seemed, since his dad had passed away. Howard stayed with him until he crawled into the camper and went to bed. He watched over his sleeping boy for awhile before walking down to the silvery lake. Howard followed the shoreline until the sun rose again replacing moon-shadow for a sunburst over sierra peaks and then... he faded away.

 
 


© Copyright 2017 R.Guy Barringer. All rights reserved.

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