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20th February
posted by amber

The Man on the Beach I

When my husband died, he left his metal detector to Danny. But I don’t think they give him much of a chance to use it at the sheltered living. He’s pretty busy there, going out to his job at MacDonald’s most days, going on shopping trips and to the gym with his worker, attending his classes. He doesn’t have a lot of unstructured time.

They contacted me last year to say that his regular holiday, to a horse ranch with 3 other men from the sheltered living, wasn’t going to happen because they had a staff shortage. In the silence following this announcement, I heard a question. A question I’d never considered before.

And my first impulse was to say no. I hadn’t gone on a holiday at all, since Horace died, and I certainly had no desire to go to a horse ranch. Tropical vacations are more my cup of tea. When I said this, the worker said that a tropical vacation would work as well. My grandson isn’t what they refer to as ‘high maintenance.’ He’s not crazy or dangerous, just more like a strange 9 year old with his obsessions.

When I went to tell Danny about our upcoming trip to Puerto Moreles and showed him the picture of the beach, he became very excited. He’d seen Horace’s beach finds, the gold chains, silver dollars, belt buckles. He’d heard Horace speak often about the possibility of finding pirate treasure.

Of course, I let him bring the metal detector, and it makes the trip so easy for me. I sit by the pool and read my book while he heads down the beach, intent on scanning every inch of sand. It takes him hours to get out of sight, and by then he’s hungry, so he comes back. After lunch, he covers the beach in the opposite direction.

We’ve had four trips now, and I’d never consider going without him. An unexpected bonus has been that he’s found enough valuable stuff to pay for most of his own way, never pirate treasure, but far more jewellery and coins than Horace ever found.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story. If you’d like me to use your name in a story, I’d be happy to do that.

This story is inspired by someone I saw at Turks and Caicos, where I’m holidaying right now.

1 Comment

  1. Perry

    Really like this, just has a nice feel to it.

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