I’m almost finished packing. I struggle to find my book and flip flops. My eyes are playing tricks again. Brain fog creeping in. My unkempt home is sneering at me. I’m disorganized. Changing course, I usher my folks outside. Thankfully, they’re all packed for the beach house.

I’m convinced the shore will heal our sadness. The recent passing of my husband, Shaun, has taken a toll on our family. He was the ringleader, our patriarch. My kids are expected later. How different this summer will be. Our beach house is waiting for us. Magically, it transforms our inner being. Reduced to talking instead of texting is just the beginning. Charades and the raucous fun they create, laughing at each other’s gestures!

As we arrive, the front door is thrust open, suitcases dispersed, sturdy bags of groceries brought to their rightful place. I look around the kitchen like greeting an old friend, and see nothing has changed. The charm of this house doesn’t go unnoticed. Brushing against the blue Formica table, I hurry through the outdated kitchen. The back door opens creakily. I inhale deeply, overtaken with the hypnotic breeze!

The decor is unimpressive, staying true to another era – the wood panel walls, the overstuffed sofa and chairs covered in white cotton slip covers. The multicolored hook rug lays under the old wood chest. Seascape prints, along with photos of the local harbor, adorn each wall.

As I move from room to room, the lace curtains are moved aside. I push up the hesitant windows. Musty smells are replaced with fresh salt air!

Guilt weighs heavy as a bullet proof vest. Nervously, I conjure up an explanation. The children deserve the truth. Half truths won’t suffice. Their dad wasn’t shot by a stranger, as local authorities reported. His past had caught up with him.

For now, I’ll forgo unpacking. Mom, Dad and I retrieve our swimsuits. Sand chairs are leaned against the porch rails. As we trek through the warm sand, the shoreline welcomes us back.


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    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    2 months ago

    What a nice picture of a beach house. I would love to stay there. Your story is very interesting. I would love to discover the mystery behind Dad’s death. It sounds intriguing. I wish to read more part of this story. Well done, Deborah.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Deborah Goulding
    2 months ago

    Sounds more interesting, Deborah. I can’t wait to read it.

    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    2 months ago

    Well done, Deborah for writing about a summer home, which is a true account of summer- in great contrast to my environmental Armageddon tale . Besides enjoying your imagery, I would like to encourage you to write a second story concerning the father’s death. Was he a gangster?

    2 months ago

    Beautiful descriptions of the Beach House and intriguing twist over dad’s death.

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    2 months ago

    What an intriguing twist at the end, Deborah, it gives the reader a sense of why your protagonist is finding it hard to get it all together at the beginning. I love all your descriptions as she walked around the beach house, opening the windows to let in the fresh sea air. I too would love a story about the father and what happened. Well done.

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