'The Bus Stop'

'The Bus Stop'

Status: Finished

Genre: Flash Fiction

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Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Flash Fiction

Houses:

Summary

'A son's love for his father know's no bounds. A story with a twist.
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Summary

'A son's love for his father know's no bounds. A story with a twist.

Content

Submitted: October 11, 2013

A A A | A A A

Content

Submitted: October 11, 2013

A A A

A A A


'The Bus Stop'

A short story by Will Neill

 

I saw the rain coming; it lay pregnant in the gray clouds that rolled sleepily across the October sky line towards the harbor. Twilight is my favorite time of day, just before the moon takes charge there is a stillness in the air. Most don't notice it, but it's always present. If you stop it will entwine you, caress you with its mystical arms and hold you in the moment. Once I was like everyone else too, wrapped up in an occupied life, never taking time to stop and just breathe, but it's not like that anymore. Now every year I come here just to sit and watch and wait.

A purple hue of light has evolved around the church spire beyond the row of wooden houses enhanced eerily by the drifting drizzle; its spire seems to support the crescent moon that has now bled into the evening sky.

Time comes and goes without urgency and the cold autumn air tastes crisp and salty. Two seagulls squabble over a wet discarded bread roll before a third swoops down and disappears with it into the darkness. They fly off after it still bickering into an echo. A small light switches on with a click above me illuminating just the shelter and a small area of ground at my feet. It’s not on long before it blinks off again like a camera's flash.

I reside just behind the spire, a small modest plot, not much to look at. All my life I've been in Eden Maine, born and bred as they say. My Father moved here from Port Clinton just after he and mum got married in 1954, I came along three years later. Dad took a job on a schooner and worked under Captain Frank Smoke, 'A hard but fair man' I used to hear him say. Mum hated that he was a fisherman; I used to lie in bed and listen to her cry every time dad went to sea. But it was in his blood, just like his father.

 

'Promise me you will never be a fisherman like your father Abe' she would ask on those nights we spent alone, I would smile and grab her waist with a love so big I thought my heart would burst. 'I promise mom' I would agree, but a young child always wants to please, isn’t that so?

Over the years he tried other work just to put her mind at ease, I used to wait for him at this very bus stop when he came home from his factory shift that he took up in the 'Big Smoke'. The silver greyhound would swing onto main street bang on six each day, and I would run to meet it. Dad would wave to me from his window as I chased along beside, hopping and jumping over the cracks on the sidewalk until it stopped. When he stepped off he would smile and ruffle my hair, but I could see the ache in his eyes when he looked down to the harbor. The pull of the sea was strong to him, he stood, silently paused, closed his eyes and drew the salt air into his lungs. Then held it there like he wished to bring it home to keep.

'Some day we will have our own boat, what do you say Abe?'

I held his hand and I could feel it tighten as he breathed in again ' Sure dad, that would be great' I would say, but moms words would echo around me of the promise she asked. The walk home was a happy raillery of how much fish we would catch and how rich we would be. He enjoyed boasting of how he could be 'Captain Jack Burrow’s’ and of course I would be first mate aboard the good ship 'Mary ' named after mom.

 

Many times I waited at the bus stop, and always it was the same.

Some days the bus would be late, but I could not move, not until it would arrive. Our walk together brought us close and became even more magical in the twilight; I suppose that’s why I'm drawn here now.

Time went by, and I began to get older, I could see that his dream was becoming thinner, his face more taught with sorrow. The work that kept him away from the sea made him old and bitter, the arguments at home had long since stopped, but mom knew he was never happy.

It was on the day that I missed his bus because I got caught up on my paper round that he went down to the harbor.

By the time I got to our house I could hear the raised voices coming out into the street, mom was crying and dad was insisting ' It's just one trip Mary! Three nights out of port what could happen'

'Your Father drowned at sea! Jack, don't you remember'

'A freak storm, it won’t happen to me'

As I stepped into the hallway he pushed me aside, his voice sounded harsh, unrelenting.

'I need to don't this Mary, don't you understand.'

'What's wrong mother' I asked

'Frank Smoke needs a deck hand for a trip, he asked your father to go when they spoke earlier’

'When does he leave’?

'To-night' she sighed. 'On the evening tide'

'Don't worry' I said 'It gonna be okay mom, dads a good fisherman and Frank is the best captain in the town'

That was the last time we saw him, we got word the following day from the coast guard that they had received an S.O.S from Franks ship the 'Compass Rose'. For two days they searched but found nothing, all hands lost.

The church held a memorial that next Sunday for Frank, Dad and the crew, the reverend talked a lot about how the sea would someday give up its dead. I don’t think Mom paid much attention mind, she just sat there staring straight ahead. Never spoke, just smiled and nodded at anyone who paid their respects.

She was never the same after that. Went into herself, and just faded away. Took pneumonia and died in bed on my eighteenth birthday.

 

Six years later I had enough money saved, and what was left of Dad's insurance money I bought myself a small boat, started up on my own catching crabs and shrimps, small stuff at the beginning. I called her 'Mary' , just like dad had wanted.

I made a decent living for a while. He was right, it’s in your blood-the ocean.

 

I'd better be getting along soon, can't stay here forever.

A young boy and his mother has just come into the bus stop, he smiles at me and I return the gesture, he reminds me of how I looked once.

' Are you waiting for the bus mister' he asks

‘No, not really' I reply

'Then what are you here for?'

' I'm waiting for my dad,' I smile back 'I'm hoping he'll be along soon'

' That’s funny' he laughs 'Me too, he's coming on the bus'

 

His mother jerks his arm and pulls him to her.

'Who are you talking to Ben' she asks him.

'The man, mother, the man sitting beside us, he's waiting for his dad too'

The rain is coming, I can see it pregnant in the gray clouds that are rolling in across the harbor, the crescent moon bleeds into the evening sky and the light flickers on again in the bus stop.

'There's no one there' Ben she says tugging him again. He smiles back at me and rolls his eyes.

Strange how the children can see me but adults don't, I guess we lose that sense as we get older. I suppose we just get lost in the business life. No one notices, but we are here.

'Mom'

'What is that' he looks to me then to her, pointing.

‘It’s a name plate Ben, a brass name plate'

'What does it say?'

'Let me see,' she squints at it in the pale light and begins to read it to her son- ''In memory of Abraham Burrows, drowned at sea, fell over board from the fishing vessel ''Mary ''on the 10th of October1982 may he rest in peace.''

 

''In this night and in the many nights to come until the ships bear lights again, give us, O God, the strength to face our fate unshaken. Amen ''

Will Neill 2013 a sea mans prayer

'The Bus Stop'

A short story by Will Neill

 

I saw the rain coming; it lay pregnant in the gray clouds that rolled sleepily across the October sky line towards the harbor. Twilight is my favorite time of day, just before the moon takes charge there is a stillness in the air. Most don't notice it, but it's always present. If you stop it will entwine you, caress you with its mystical arms and hold you in the moment. Once I was like everyone else too, wrapped up in an occupied life, never taking time to stop and just breathe, but it's not like that anymore. Now every year I come here just to sit and watch and wait.

A purple hue of light has evolved around the church spire beyond the row of wooden houses enhanced eerily by the drifting drizzle; its spire seems to support the crescent moon that has now bled into the evening sky.

Time comes and goes without urgency and the cold autumn air tastes crisp and salty. Two seagulls squabble over a wet discarded bread roll before a third swoops down and disappears with it into the darkness. They fly off after it still bickering into an echo. A small light switches on with a click above me illuminating just the shelter and a small area of ground at my feet. It’s not on long before it blinks off again like a camera's flash.

I reside just behind the spire, a small modest plot, not much to look at. All my life I've been in Eden Maine, born and bred as they say. My Father moved here from Port Clinton just after he and mum got married in 1954, I came along three years later. Dad took a job on a schooner and worked under Captain Frank Smoke, 'A hard but fair man' I used to hear him say. Mum hated that he was a fisherman; I used to lie in bed and listen to her cry every time dad went to sea. But it was in his blood, just like his father.

 

'Promise me you will never be a fisherman like your father Abe' she would ask on those nights we spent alone, I would smile and grab her waist with a love so big I thought my heart would burst. 'I promise mom' I would agree, but a young child always wants to please, isn’t that so?

Over the years he tried other work just to put her mind at ease, I used to wait for him at this very bus stop when he came home from his factory shift that he took up in the 'Big Smoke'. The silver greyhound would swing onto main street bang on six each day, and I would run to meet it. Dad would wave to me from his window as I chased along beside, hopping and jumping over the cracks on the sidewalk until it stopped. When he stepped off he would smile and ruffle my hair, but I could see the ache in his eyes when he looked down to the harbor. The pull of the sea was strong to him, he stood, silently paused, closed his eyes and drew the salt air into his lungs. Then held it there like he wished to bring it home to keep.

'Some day we will have our own boat, what do you say Abe?'

I held his hand and I could feel it tighten as he breathed in again ' Sure dad, that would be great' I would say, but moms words would echo around me of the promise she asked. The walk home was a happy raillery of how much fish we would catch and how rich we would be. He enjoyed boasting of how he could be 'Captain Jack Burrow’s’ and of course I would be first mate aboard the good ship 'Mary ' named after mom.

 

Many times I waited at the bus stop, and always it was the same.

Some days the bus would be late, but I could not move, not until it would arrive. Our walk together brought us close and became even more magical in the twilight; I suppose that’s why I'm drawn here now.

Time went by, and I began to get older, I could see that his dream was becoming thinner, his face more taught with sorrow. The work that kept him away from the sea made him old and bitter, the arguments at home had long since stopped, but mom knew he was never happy.

It was on the day that I missed his bus because I got caught up on my paper round that he went down to the harbor.

By the time I got to our house I could hear the raised voices coming out into the street, mom was crying and dad was insisting ' It's just one trip Mary! Three nights out of port what could happen'

'Your Father drowned at sea! Jack, don't you remember'

'A freak storm, it won’t happen to me'

As I stepped into the hallway he pushed me aside, his voice sounded harsh, unrelenting.

'I need to don't this Mary, don't you understand.'

'What's wrong mother' I asked

'Frank Smoke needs a deck hand for a trip, he asked your father to go when they spoke earlier’

'When does he leave’?

'To-night' she sighed. 'On the evening tide'

'Don't worry' I said 'It gonna be okay mom, dads a good fisherman and Frank is the best captain in the town'

That was the last time we saw him, we got word the following day from the coast guard that they had received an S.O.S from Franks ship the 'Compass Rose'. For two days they searched but found nothing, all hands lost.

The church held a memorial that next Sunday for Frank, Dad and the crew, the reverend talked a lot about how the sea would someday give up its dead. I don’t think Mom paid much attention mind, she just sat there staring straight ahead. Never spoke, just smiled and nodded at anyone who paid their respects.

She was never the same after that. Went into herself, and just faded away. Took pneumonia and died in bed on my eighteenth birthday.

 

Six years later I had enough money saved, and what was left of Dad's insurance money I bought myself a small boat, started up on my own catching crabs and shrimps, small stuff at the beginning. I called her 'Mary' , just like dad had wanted.

I made a decent living for a while. He was right, it’s in your blood-the ocean.

 

I'd better be getting along soon, can't stay here forever.

A young boy and his mother has just come into the bus stop, he smiles at me and I return the gesture, he reminds me of how I looked once.

' Are you waiting for the bus mister' he asks

‘No, not really' I reply

'Then what are you here for?'

' I'm waiting for my dad,' I smile back 'I'm hoping he'll be along soon'

' That’s funny' he laughs 'Me too, he's coming on the bus'

 

His mother jerks his arm and pulls him to her.

'Who are you talking to Ben' she asks him.

'The man, mother, the man sitting beside us, he's waiting for his dad too'

The rain is coming, I can see it pregnant in the gray clouds that are rolling in across the harbor, the crescent moon bleeds into the evening sky and the light flickers on again in the bus stop.

'There's no one there' Ben she says tugging him again. He smiles back at me and rolls his eyes.

Strange how the children can see me but adults don't, I guess we lose that sense as we get older. I suppose we just get lost in the business life. No one notices, but we are here.

'Mom'

'What is that' he looks to me then to her, pointing.

‘It’s a name plate Ben, a brass name plate'

'What does it say?'

'Let me see,' she squints at it in the pale light and begins to read it to her son- ''In memory of Abraham Burrows, drowned at sea, fell over board from the fishing vessel ''Mary ''on the 10th of October1982 may he rest in peace.''

 

''In this night and in the many nights to come until the ships bear lights again, give us, O God, the strength to face our fate unshaken. Amen ''

Will Neill 2013 a sea mans prayer

'


© Copyright 2017 Will Neill. All rights reserved.

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