Ocean Point - a fiction short story
Sarah pushed her light hair out of her face as she sat on the jagged rocky shore of Ocean Point, Maine. She squinted in the sun to see out to Montauk Island as the sun shimmered and slivered over the waves and water. Peace. Tranquility. Finally.
Sarah and the children, Peter and Hannah, had left for the Maine house as soon as school had finished for the year. The children were ensconced in summer camp for the next several weeks here in Maine, not far from Ocean Point. Sarah finally had some time to think and to relax.
Life had become so stressful in the city - New York City. She and David, her husband of the past twelve years, suddenly had been having difficulties for the past six months or so. The harping, the complaining, the little fights and arguments over nothing. Peter and Hannah had even begun to notice and could't wait to leave for Maine once school was out and get to camp.
Maybe David was right. Maybe they did need time away from one another for a while. He had suggested she come up to the Ocean Point house in June when the children went to camp and open the house then. They usually opened the house for the 4th of July celebrations, hosting an informal barbecue and party for their closest friends and family every year. They closed down the house on Labor Day weekend as the kids were back full swing at school in the city. It was a short respite from the hot city days.
But, this year Sarah had packed the children and the Land Rover and driven up June 1. She had not spent much time at the house this early in the summer in a long time and it was lovely at Ocean Point in June. So, she had cancelled the cleaning lady and opened and cleaned the house herself - uncovering the furniture, dusting from top to bottom all three floors and sweeping and vacuuming the sand off the back screened in porch. This beautiful old stone house , with green wood trim, had been in Sarah's family since the 1920s. Her great-grandfather, an old Maine sailor, had bought the house when he lived in Maine and never again left Ocean Point or the house.
Sarah's grandparents had taken it over when he died and Sarah had spent her childhood playing among the rocky shore of Ocean Point. When her grandparents passed away, Sarah's parents had not been interested in keeping it so Sarah took it over.
She loved the massive stone house with the large expansive but cozy living room that looked out to the ocean and rocky shore, the tall white cup boarded kitchen, the huge oak dining room table and the four large airy, windowed bedrooms upstairs. Even the attic was finished and could be turned into more rooms if many visited. Her great-grandfather's old barometer that hung on the dining room wall was her favorite item in the house. She had watched it as a child predict when hurricanes would hit Ocean Point.
Life was serene here. Quite the contrast to the conflicts she and David had been having lately. Was it work? Was it another woman? Sarah had to chuckle; she didn't think it was another woman. Despite the conflicts, the bedroom antics had never stopped . That was one thing that had intensified these past six months. David seemed to love her and the children, but the constant nagging and harping continued. Why o why was David suddenly so unhappy and distressed?
Sarah couldn't wait until the 4th of July weekend when he and the children and Sarah would be all together again. Maybe the salt air would clear David's head. She was determined to talk this through with him.
Sarah suddenly jumped up and headed for the Land Rover. She needed a few things for the fridge from the Safeway Market. She started the Land Rover and pulled out of the drive turning left around the bend and out to the main road. Most of the houses around her weren't opened yet. They would slowly open up as July approached.
She parked the car near the entrance of Safeway and walked inside. She grabbed sugar and creamer for her morning coffee, and it was always good to have fruit on hand - apples, bananas, oranges. Mmmm - some yummy Maine blueberries. After checking out, she drove over to Hadley's Florist Shop. She needed some bright flowers for the big oak dining room table.
The bell to the shop twinkled as she walked in. Mrs. Hadley was up to her elbows in flowers. "Hi, Sarah - what can I do you for?" she asked smiling.
"Just some yellow daisies, red carnations and a little lupine. They're for my dining room table," Sarah said smiling at Mrs. Hadley.
"Looks like today will be a beautiful one," said Mrs. Hadley. "Be sure to enjoy the sunshine and sea today, darling," she said.
"Oh, it's not much fun alone at the house. Now that it's cleaned, I have three weeks before David arrives."
"Well, if you are looking for something to do, I can use some help here at the shop - part-time mind you - and it won't pay much - but if you want something to do other than staring at the ocean and stumbling around over rocks - here I am," she said
"Not a bad idea. I may take you up on that. Let me get my groceries and these flowers back home and I'll be back. Hmmm. a new career in flowers!" she exclaimed.
Sarah drove home and to her surprise found David's red Alfa Romeo sitting in the driveway and David waiting on the front porch with a look of worry on his face.
"Where have you been?" he demanded. "I forgot my key and can't get into the house. Here you are in Maine with nothing to do but relax and where are you?" he hissed
"Well, hello to you, too," said Sarah shaking her head. "I wasn 't expecting you until July 4th - you're early - I just made a run to the grocery store and the florist." She turned around to kiss him after opening the door, but he rushed passed her into the house and up the stairs to the master bedroom.
"Hey, what's going on with you? I don't even get a kiss? I haven't seen or talked to you in a week. How are you?" Sarah called as she followed him up the stairs to find David rustling through papers in the desk.
"Sarah, I'm busy and in a hurry. I have to get right back to the city and I don't have time for this inquisition," he sputtered hurriedly.
"Inquisition? Don't you even want to know how Peter and Hannah are?" she asked.
"How are Peter and Hannah, Sarah?" asked David without even looking up. "Ah, there it is," he said as he grabbed papers from the desk.
"David, STOP!" exclaimed Sarah as she put her hands over his.
David pushed her hands aside, "Sarah, I don't have time for all this chit-chat right now, and no I can't stop. I'm sorry, but I'm under a lot of pressure at work and I have to drive right back to the city. "Give Peter and Hannah my love and I'll see all of you July 4th," said David breathlessly as he flew down the stairs and out the door.
Sarah followed him to the door, but he was already off the porch and getting in his sports car.
"David, please wait . . ." called Sarah. David threw a kiss, got in the car and pulled out of the drive and around the left bend. He was gone.
Sarah had tears in her eyes as she watched the car go out of sight. Whoosh, and he was gone.
Sarah went to her purse to find her cell phone. This was the limit - she was calling David's brother to see if he had any insight to David's "work pressures."
Sarah waited as the phone rang. Finally, Jeff answered, "Jeff's Heating and Cooling - how hot are you this fine summer day?" Sarah had to smile at his response.
"Jeff, this is Sarah, if you have a moment, I need to talk with you," she said quietly.
"Hi Sarah, what's up?" Jeff asked. Jeff, David's younger brother was laid back, relaxed and always had time for Sarah, David and the children.
"Jeff, I'm up at the house at Ocean Point early this year,and I wanted to talk to you about David," she said quietly.
"Hey, did that crazy brother of mine finally take a long vacation? You guys are never at Ocean Point until July 4th," he said.
"No, David's not here, well, he was here just a short while ago, but he's headed back to the city now. The children and I came up to the house June 1. You know, Peter and Hannah are at camp for a few weeks so I thought I'd take an extended vacation here while they are at camp," Sarah said.
"Hey, Sarah, is everything all right with you and David?" Jeff asked.
"That's what I want to talk to you about, Jeff. Do you know of any work pressures David is under? We are going through a rough patch right now and David isn't communicating much. He's crankier that usual and even Peter and Hannah have noticed."
"Gosh, Sarah, I haven't talked to David in a month or so. I don't know of anything off hand. I'll talk to him and see if I can feel him out about anything. You said he was there a short while ago and then left for the city. What was he doing there?"
"I don't know," said Sarah, "he flew in here, got some papers out of his desk and flew out of here driving back to the city. No explanation. He barely said hello to me. I don't know what to think," said Sarah her voice cracking.
"Sarah, you take care. I'll get in touch with that crazy brother of nine and see what I can find out. I'll give you a call in a day or so," he said.
"Thanks, Jeff - and don't forget, you and Maggie are invited here for the July 4th barbecue - that is if it's still on," said Sarah.
"It's a date," laughed Jeff. "Even David wouldn't miss the July 4th barbecue. That's boat time," sad Jeff laughing.
"Kiss Peter and Hannah for me and I'll talk to you later," said Jeff.
"Bye, Jeff, and thanks," said Sarah feeling a tad bit better.
As she clicked off the cell phone, Sarah felt a pounding in her head. She put the sugar, creamer and fruit away and arranged the flowers on the oak dining room table. They looked fresh, bright, and summery. Then, she walked upstairs to the master bedroom and laid down to ease the pounding in her head.
"Those papers," she drowsily thought, "when I wake up, I have to go through the desk and see what they were - what's missing . . . " she trailed off to sleep.
Suddenly, Sarah woke with a jerk. She heard banging on the front door and, "Police, Police - open up!" Sarah groggily looked around - it was dark and about 10:10 pm. "My gosh, have I slept all this time?" she thought. The banging continued. Sarah pulled herself out of bed and struggled down the stairs. The pounding continued.
"I'm coming, I'm coming," yelled Sarah so they could hear her. She opened the door to let the police officer in just as her cell phone exploded ringing. She grabbed the phone off the table and turned it on. "Just a minute," said Sarah into the cell phone, "someone's at the door." She motioned the police officer into the house.
"Sarah, oh Sarah," Jeff's voice was heavy and cracking, "I don't know how to tell you this ...."
Suddenly, Sarah's stomach bottomed out and her knees buckled, "Oh, God, no," she covered her mouth with her hand as the police officer caught her.
"Why are you here?" she asked the policeman, as she heard Jeff struggle to tell her David had been in a car accident.
"Are you Mrs. David J. Kellerman, Sarah Kellerman?" asked the officer quietly.
"Yes," said Sarah barely above a whisper.
"The wife of David J. Kellerman?" he persisted.
"Yes," said Sarah as she started to cry.
"I'm sorry to inform you, but your husband is deceased. He died in a car accident on I-95 late this afternoon. He died instantly."
Sarah collapsed on the floor sobbing. Jeff was still on the phone crying, "Sarah, Sarah . . ." The police officer picked up the cell phone and spoke to Jeff and explained she was sobbing uncontrollably. Jeff told the officer he was driving up from Jersey immediately and the officer told Jeff he would stay with Sarah until he arrived.
A month later, after the lovely funeral Sarah, Peter and Hannah had given David, Sarah had her answers. David had been gambling big time the past six months and owned more than a million dollars in gambling debts. Sarah closed her eyes as she looked across the shimmering, silvery water. The realator had just put the 'for sale' sign out on the front yard of the massive stone house on Ocean Point. The house she so lovingly took over when her grandparents died. There would be no July 4th barbecue and party this year or ever again. The proceeds from the sale of the house would go to cover David's gambling debts, along with the proceeds from the sale of their New York City apartment. Sarah would take the old barometer from the dining room wall as a final remembrance of Ocean Point.
Sarah had a small nest egg, from when she had worked full-time, that had never been touched. That would go towards a small house somewhere here in Maine in the Boothbay Harbor region for her and the children.
Peter and Hannah, crushed by their father's accidental death, and it was just a car accident, also did not want to return to the city. They preferred to make a new life with Sarah here in Maine. They would give up their fancy private school and attend the Boothbay Regional Schools.
Life would be simpler now. No pressures, no haggling, no complaints, no arguments. Just the three of them quietly living here in Maine. Sarah would contact Mrs. Hadley and take her up on the part-time florist shop position. It would be a good way to get a start working here in Maine.
Sarah missed David's arms around her and the way he would nuzzle his head into her neck as she sat on the rocks looking out toward the ocean. Had David only talked to her, they could have conquered his gambling. But, David had chosen to keep it all inside himself. To keep it a secret. Sarah, Peter and Hannah didn't even know what had happened until it was too late.
Sarah opened the urn holding David's ashes. She sifted his ashes through her fingers - the last soft, velvety touch of David. She hand sprinkled some of his ashes along the rocks and then the rocky coastline in the water. Peter and Hannah ran up to assist her, tears in their eyes. Sarah put an arm around each child as they all hugged each other. It was done now. David. Ocean Point. Gone.
Copyright (c) 2013 Suzannah Wolf Walker all rights reserved
© 2013 Suzette Walker