Confounded and Obscured

This is a short story I wrote for a contest last year. The rules were simple, touch on the topic given and the word count at or below 800. I think this came in at just under 780 words or so (in a word doc).

Walter Fosse, the only parent I’ve known, had a way with words. Over the years he vocalized one story after another narrating what he’d deem as his adventures. Some were funny like when he scooped up a huge spoonful of butter thinking it was vanilla ice cream. Other stories came across as distressed such as the time he said goodbye to my mother for the last time. There wasn’t a detail left out and in no way could anyone else construe the amazing adventures he had embarked upon.

I’ll never forget the  last story my father told me as he was dying. The one account of his life that I yearned for most, yet he avoided at all cost. Amazed at his candor, he requested that I take a seat and listen. And I did for what seemed like minutes, had taken the entire afternoon.

Though his voice was raspy and his breathing was shallow, he explicitly told his tale in perfect harmony with the universe as I listened for the last time.

“It was 1955 when I met the love of my life during a perigee full moon in the Norwegian Sea.  The Mokenstraumen maelström sunk my oceanography research vessel and carried me from one breath of reality to another and I’d thought myself dead. Now please understand, as a scientist, I didn’t believe in the afterlife. However, here I was breathing underwater as if my body was in the proper place.

Of course rational thought consistently quarrelled with what my eyes were witnessing and my body was experiencing. The largest vortex in the world, in Norway, called havsvelg which means, “hole in the ocean,” brought me to a place no human is intended to visit.

You see Jordan, the phenomenon known today as the Supermoon, a full moon at the same time the moon is closest to the earth and its gravitational pull is at its peak, affects the ocean tides. This effect on gravity also creates a pathway to what you would consider another world. A world underwater, and those who live there are what we call Mermaids.”

I nearly snorted the water I was drinking, out of my nose. With the knowledge of this being his last chance to pass along this information, my father ignored my interruption and continued.

“She was beautiful. They are beautiful!  Time is different in that place. It’s impossible to find the temporal length one has lingered. Kaitlyn, my beloved, assured me that it mattered not. As long as we took full advantage of the moment we’re blessed with. And there weren’t many as a true Supermoon occurs about every twenty-two years.

For years I went back.  Always praying with every fiber of my being that it was the season we’d be reunited. That is until I realized why I couldn’t return until the time was right. Life’s cruel irony, allowing us to share too few moments in our lifetime.

I always said that someday I’ll be too old to return. Now as I lay decrepit in my bed and wait for death I’m uncertain about why I hang on,  as if she’ll magically appear at my bedside while the good Lord puts my body to rest.”

With a loving smile, Walter passed away that night. The memory of his last day gives me great comfort as I my life moves forward with my new bride, Rachel.

Our honeymoon, in the Lofoten Islands in Norway, had been an obsession  since  my fathers passing. The  sailboat was anchored just a few yards away and the sun had set. Tonight is an authentic Supermoon. Rachel and I decided to  suit up and dive when the moon was at its biggest and brightest,  in memory of Walter, my father.

With the campfire slowly dying, we descended hand in hand, into the water. We greatly underestimated the powerful current and immediately were swept away.  I felt something slip around my ankle and pull. My first thought was Rachel, then I realized she was in front of me. 

For what seemed like days, we drifted. Impossible as it may be, when the oxygen tanks  ran out we realized we could breathe under the water. Walter’s story haunted me at that very moment.

Just then a figured approach. A young, bare-chested woman swimming like a fish smiled as she stretched out her arms to embrace me like  a long-lost loved one. Her thoughts penetrated mine as she flooded my mind with her memories of Walter.


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