Last man off the Island .......

Source

A Short Story

I looked down at the white shiny bow of the lobster boat cutting the surface and then reflecting of the sea as the boat speed lifted onto a semi- plane , there is usually nothing like spending a day on the sea , especially a day like this , the pillowy sea mists are still holding near the surface and yet at the very salty surface the line of sight still seemed pretty clear , the boat , supplied with the twin turbo diesels slowly rose onto the almost mirror like surface of the sea . Of course I know this path pretty damned well , from the mainland out to the islands isn't all that far . And yet , I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that the GPS and radar on the boat is a huge help and a life saver too . The boat ................ an old Jones Brothers creation , one of the last ones that they built together purred smoothly along . The wipers clearing away the mist's that had gathered on the windshield screached between the clouds of foggy mist and once in a while we would rise up over the swells beginning to rise up with the tide .

And yet the trip today was a different kind of trip , I eased back on the twin throttle controls and let the boat sink into the breaking surf a bit and slowed to a safe speed . I was on my way to the old island where once even I called it home ! Today though I was making a special trip . The last man on the island had passed on , over the years the distance and the cost of deliveries and the lack of jobs had driven most of the inhabitants away to the mainland . And yet .....not everyone had left , a few' hangers on ' had stayed there until a couple of years ago the last of the families had left , the MaCort's had finaly given in as well . Today though , as I pulled the boat up to the run down creosoted timbers and tied off the stern in the calm waters , I turned in time to see the two men backing the pick -up down the ramp .

As I tied off the lines and watched the two men get out of the truck and drop the tailgate I wondered , how do they do this , the shiney new coffin sat waiting for them to load onto my stern . Another burrial at sea ! Another trip that turns my emotions to jelly , but yet we must do what we have to do now don't we .They both turned to the boat without saying a word , and yet we locked eye's for a moment , as they both waved goodbye and then they got back into the old truck and drove away .

I had come here to bring the last living full time resident off the island and to give him a burial at sea as he had requested in his last will and testament . Not something so unusual out here on the coastal islands of the state of Maine . As I started the diesels and motored away from the dock , I turned and looked at the box wrapped in the flag , and I wondered why ? Why is it that some people never leave their home for more than a few miles ! This man never had ! He wouldn't even go to the mainland in the last ten years he would go about his simple life of being a fisherman and that's about all . And now , It was my duty to make this man's one last trip , there were no others here and yet many had offered to accompany me . I thought better though , I knew him best perhaps .

At the shoals north of Monhegen Island I slowed the throttles and began a long slow circle , Tied the wheel off to keep her in a straight line and turned to chores , I dropped the stearn rail and looked one last time , then I removed the flag and folded it slowly and then placing it there on the dash of the cabin , I turned one last time to the weighted coffin...........

"What words can be said , what prayers my friend , what can I say to you that you havent already heard from those who loved you ? .........and with that , I slowly slid the coffin into the sea and watched it slowly sink into the briney depths, the depths that he loved so much , even more I thought silently ......than the people in his life .

"Good bye , my Father .........goodbye ." and as I motored away towards the mainland I realized , yes . The tears are coming now , and thats okay ." I will miss you Dad !"
On the return trip once again , I watched the red sun drop slowly into the sea and wondered ,How many thousand times he watched this .

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------










Comments 19 comments

Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

A great tale, as an underlying message rakes across my soul. I miss so much of the way things were... I who has moved so many.


cleaner3 4 years ago

wow, beautiful tribute . you have once again amazed me with your words so deep and yet so light that they float in the air like a butterfly. Thanks for sharing .!


Ghaelach 4 years ago

Morning ahorseback.

You wrote this story as though it is something you went through, or is it that I'm a sucker for a good story and get drawn in as one of the characters. This time I was the captains mate just sitting there watching everything.

Thanks or sharing.

Have a good weekend.

LOL Ghaelach


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago Author

MHatter , I too my friend have done that ! Missed the old ways, the old days ! Thank you


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago Author

Cleaner ! thank You, do you like the sea my friend !? .....be well !


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago Author

Ghaelach , ahh now that my friend is a good story ! Every boat should have a first mate !Thanks for stopping ,


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

That's a sign of a good writer when we don't know if it is fiction or a real life event, whichever, it is beautiful. Loved it.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago Author

Always , I made this up of course , yet I'm sure its happened way more than once ! Thank you for such wonderful comments !


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and beautiful. I've read a lot about burials at sea but you added a sentimental twist to them and brought wonderful imagery of the setting sun. Loved this and passing it on.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago Author

Thank you Gypsy , your comments always mean alot .......:-}


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

There is something so natural about burial at sea. Going back to nature as simply as possible seems to bring peace to me. I love how you wrote this. Your emotions, turbulent yet at ease, are like the sea itself.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago Author

Hello my friend thank you , Hyphenbird , "Turbulent yet at ease" , Thats me dear ! Always have been !


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Loved this sad and yet peaceful story. To slide into the depths as the sun sinks... the old man wouldn't want it any other way.

Awesome


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago Author

Rosemay , thank you so much , back in the sixties and seventies theere used to be a little magezine that was out each month?, Hitchcock like short stories thhat had little twists at the endings ! I lik that style of writing ! Be well !


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago Author

Rosemay , Thank you so much ! Yes thats the only way !.........:-}


nighthag profile image

nighthag 4 years ago from Australia

Sad yet beautiful, to be held in the seas loving embrace sounds the perfect goodbye for such a man and father as this. A wonderfully vivid short story voting up!


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago Author

Nighthag , I actually read an article of a rurrial at sea and got this out of it ! Thank you for sharing .....:-}


HoneyBB profile image

HoneyBB 4 years ago from Illinois

You painted an amazingly vivid picture here! And, what a shock to find that it was Dad! What a great story! Thanks for sharing.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago Author

Honey , I love the sea and all it's drama ! And there is so much , once , in the same day I watched a small yet beautiful wedding on the rocky shores of maine , yet just up the shoreline a small family spreading ashes in the surf and I thought " Wow , what beauty in the power of the sea !"

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working