Here’s Suzanne Burke’s Fiction in a Flash Challenge #38 Image Prompt.
Image by Dean Lofgren from Pixabay
SWIMMING IN THE OCEAN
The cool winter sun reflected off the blue sea, making it hard to see. I blinked hard to clear my vision as I dove back into the water. Why were my children and grandchildren huddled together on the white sandy beach? Didn’t they want to swim with me?
My oldest grandson, Peter, walked to the water’s edge. He tossed a lei of pink plumeria flowers into the waves. Those flowers reminded me of the wonderful day when Bob and I renewed our vows for our 50th Wedding Anniversary on a beautiful Hawaiian beach.
I jumped high into the air and called out. “Where did you get the flowers, Peter?”
An enormous wave crashed against the rocks, drowning out my words.
Peter stood with his hands folded over a black shirt and a dolphin tie that I’d bought him when he graduated from college last year. The bottom of his black pants was soaked from the incoming waves.
I shook my head and tried again. “The water’s great! Join me!”
Louder breaking waves masked my words, leaving only a whistle.
Right then, a small pod of dolphins approached and then swam urgently around me.
“What’s wrong? Are you protecting me?” I scanned the area for danger and received no reply, as expected.
A dolphin was studying me. A familiar chill ran through me as the dolphin gently brushed against me. Was it? No. It couldn’t be.
He held my stare until I shook my head and sped to the surface, only to find my family walking away.
“Hey! Where are you going?” But only a high pitch noise came from my lips. It wasn’t the loud waves; I’d lost my voice.
Peter spun around and met my gaze. He smiled and pointed to his tie. Then he wiped the tears off his face and put on black framed sunglasses. What he did next tugged heavily on my heart. He blew me a kiss just like he had as a small boy, when it was time to go home.
“Peter!” I yelled, yet nothing but that strange sound came out again. I saw him pause for a moment, offer a wave, and then keep going. He soon disappeared with everyone else.
The lei was floating toward me in a patch of grey powder. It reminded me of when we scattered Bob’s ashes into the ocean. The flowers came right to me with a plastic card attached. On it was written: Mother and Grandmother, You will be missed and forever loved.
Then it all came crashing back to me with the force of a spring-loaded trap. The uncomfortable hospital bed and the beeping machines.
The young doctor’s sad tone. “There’s nothing else we can do except make her comfortable.”
The cancer had won its battle, but I was in the ocean. I smiled. It had happened. I turned in a circle and saw what I expected, a dolphin’s tail.
The same dolphin whistled and clicked. This time I understood my beloved husband, Bob. We had found each other again. Words couldn’t come fast enough as we caught up. Then we sat comfortably in our gift long after the pod, that Bob had lived with, moved on.
It was just the two of us, and we happily explored the new world. We avoided humans, killer whales, and sharks, or maybe it was us they avoided. We were never sure.
We were peacefully investigating the purple, pink, red, green, and blue colors that mingled in the coral reefs off the Big Island in Hawaii. A lone dolphin swam up to us with eyes so familiar I immediately knew it was Peter.
The joy at that moment could only be expressed in high dolphin jumps. Later we learned our grandson had become a famous author, had three boys, and happy marriage. I didn’t ask how he died, and he never brought it up.
As the years passed, our pod continued to grow as our family slowly joined us, including ones we’d never met in life, or Peter’s amazing wife. To this day, our family still explores the ocean. We offer gratitude with our high leaps that we’ve been given such a special gift. Maybe you’ve seen us and felt our joy?
I dedicate this short story to my grandkids. We had a discussion on what I would become while watching the Disney movie, “Moana.” The grandmother became a Manta Ray after she passed. Of course, it was decided I would come back as a dolphin, as long as I promised never to leave them. Then, we went on to talk about spirit and souls which is a whole other story 🙂
32 thoughts on “Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021.’ Week #38 #IARTG #FlashFiction #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts @pursoot #dolphins #shortstory #dolphinshortstory”
Oh my, so poignant, so sadly beautiful. Yes, I’ve seen you leap and glimpsed your joy. And I can only hope that passing from this life to the next is like you describe – a living miracle. 💗
Thank you, Gwen:) It’s wonderful if you can leap and feel joy while stll here. Yes, that is my same hope we end up in a place of miracles:)
OMGosh, Denise. What a beautiful story. It’s so you and hopefully when the time comes, many, many years from now will come true. Well definitely not the cancer piece. But certainly your next life cycle:)
Thank you, Sandra. Definitely not the cancer part, but yes may we get all our wishes fulfilled when the time arrives. xo
I loved your story, Denise and as you probably know I believe you can come back in any form. Here’s wishing you the joy you describe only many years from now.
Thanks, John. My wish is we can come back on our own terms in any form, but like you said many years down the road.
Simply beautiful, Denise. I’m sure your grandchildren were comforted to know you would always be there for them (in one form or another) <3
Thanks, Jacquie:) It took a bit of convincing on what the form might be.
I love this response to the prompt, Denise. Beautiful and poignant. And what a great conversation! 🙂
Thank you, Harmony 🙂 It was a moment of conversation that will always be carried in my heart.
Denise, this is exquisite. It brought me pain, tears and smiles all within seconds. Very well-done, my friend! Your grandchildren are very lucky to have your wisdom and insight!
I don’t often cry when I write, but this was one of those times it also brought me some grins too. Thank you, Jan. I am the lucky one having grandkids who care so much and are open to all the possibilities.
This is a sweet story. Good job on the prompt.
Thanks, Craig 🙂 it was an image with so many possibilities.
This is a painfully beautiful story Denise… you have gathered all the emotions of love and bonding. Outstanding! Love and hugs.
Thank you, Balroop. I couldn’t think of a more perfect way than to be with my loved ones after and exploring. Love and hugs back.
This beautiful story had me in tears, Denise. Thank you for writing it.❤ I’ve just had the very real pleasure of sharing it on my blog.
Thanks, Soooz. It brought tears writing it. Xo
This is beautiful, Denise. Well done. Hugs on the… on the fin!
Thanks, Teagan:) I adore hugs on the fin! Right back at you.
What a touching story, Denise! By the time I realized what happened, I thought it was a sad story, but it turned out to be so beautiful, even though the inevitable was caused by something not in our control. The love and joy go on!
I love the idea of talking about death in a lighthearted way with the grandkids. What a splendid idea! 🙂
Thank you, Miriam. What a comforting thought that the love and joy go on. It’s only a moment in our journey as we pass into the next one.
Yes, its always hard to explain to kids about loss, butnthey are always more open to the possibilities after. Xo
This is so sweet, Denise. What an inventive and poignant take on the prompt. It was beautiful!
Thank you, Mae:) I was surprised it took me back to this conversation but I’m glad it did.
I’m not surprised at all that you’d come back as a dolphin, Denise. I read this over at Suzanne’s. A wonderfully sweet story.
Thank you, Diana:) Yes, no surprise, my other choice would be a cat.
This was an awesome piece, Denise. Sadness and death, turned to joy, as the family is reunited. Well done. 🙂
Thanks, Mark:) Yes this one took me through all my emotions writing it.
I love that a movie inspired such an important discussion between you and your grandchildren. And that this is the story that followed. Lovely, Denise.
Thanks, Staci:) There is something magical about watching those movies with kids and being in the moment with them. It opened the door to the conversation and then came out here too. Xo