by James Simpson
I tell my daughters that on every other Saturday in summer our father would pick us up in his gold Plymouth and drive us over the causeway to the beach, past palmetto and scrub pine, past blinding white sand to the old Spanish fort. He would set up the hibachi for hot dogs and pop open a beer while my brother and I played Conquistador with driftwood swords and palm frond shields, hunting among the dunes for imaginary Indians and hauling them to the fort. In the late afternoon he drove us home to our mother, dropped us off with hushed embraces. Alone in our rooms we would shudder and twitch between hot sheets, our skin aflame with the memory of sun, only to drift off to the crazy buzzing cicadas in the palm trees beyond the open windows. I tell my girls that by the end of the summer we were bronzed, hardened, white-haired creatures. With wide, staring eyes and parted lips they ask if he was lonely at night away from us, and did he miss us too.
James Simpson is a freelance journalist and award-winning fiction writer. He is currently hip deep in his first novel and hopes to be up to his neck in it before long. Links to his writing can be found here.