My Memories Are In The Water

in the water

© Enisa

“You say your Dad used to bring you here all the time, Keith?”

“Yeah. There’s some great fishing in the lake about a mile north, Jerry. The old man loved fishing. I went because I loved him.”

“Lucky you. I was grateful when my Dad would take me to the neighborhood playground. We never hit it off like you and your Dad.”

Jerry glanced over at his newly wedded husband and saw “that look.” “You dreamed about him again last night, didn’t you?”

Keith looked down at the flat stones in the shallow water all around him remembering. Dad taught him how to skip rocks across the pond when he was seven. “Yeah. He was standing in our bedroom door asking how we were doing.”

“I’m sorry. I know you were really close.”

“I just wish I’d have come out to him before he died. I thought we had more time.”

“He wouldn’t have been like my Dad, Keith. You know that.”

“I know. I mean I know now. I really do miss him.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of February 20, 2018. The idea is to use the image at the top to inspire creating a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

I had a completely different story in mind until I saw the second figure on the left. Then I was stuck.

I had a dream within a dream last night (very rare for me). I dreamed I was dreaming about my Dad. He died last April and my wife just helped my Mom move into a senior care center. The missus brought back some of Dad’s jackets, hats, and stuff including a pair of Air Force flight gloves. He had a bunch of them going all the way back to when I was a kid.

Anyway, two guys in a pond in summer. I put it all together and came up with the story you just read. No, I’m not gay, but my Dad did die suddenly and you always wonder what you would have said or done differently if you have more time before the end.

To see other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

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23 thoughts on “My Memories Are In The Water

  1. Has it become too passé these days for two guys to bond and share stories about their fathers without at least one of them agonizing over being homosexual (or thinking that he might be)? It has long irritated me that the homosexual agenda has overshadowed and virtually eliminated wholesome male friendships, even among the vast majority of society that has nothing whatsoever to do with homosexuals, their private or public behavior, their political agenda, or anything else about this minor misanthropic minority. I wonder, sometimes, if it is this preoccupation that was the real cause for all prior societies in human history, that embraced or tolerated homosexuality, to decline and disappear?

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    • This is where the muse led me today, PL. Regardless of one’s feelings about gays, I can’t deny the humanity of the experience of coming out (or not) to your family, terrified of being rejected and losing the people who should be closest to you in life.

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      • Funny you should put it that way. I was thinking of the characteristic IN-humanity of that experience. It’s not supposed to be a human experience to admit to one’s family that one is a misanthrope who challenges (at least philosophically) the very social basis of that family, and, indeed, the continuity of human existence itself. I think a bit of trepidation should be expected, if not outright terror of what one believes one has become. Isn’t this why you included in your vampire stories the notion that such a one must not try to return to one’s family or visit them or even to allow oneself to be glimpsed by them? Would we empathize with a murderous sociopath because his family might react negatively upon being informed of it? I recommend you have a serious heart-to-heart talk with your muse, because the vampire model is merely an exaggeration of the inhumanity represented in deviant sexuality. It is a society-killer with a known history of destroying previous civilizations — and that statement is not at all exaggerated. It is therefore a challenge to the remainder of humanity to exercise compassion toward the victims of that syndrome, to develop and provide therapy toward reprogramming of distorted neural patterns (engrams?). It is not compassionate merely to allow them to remain trapped in their inhuman condition, and for their families to suffer also.

        Your character above might have felt better if he had told his father of his condition and if he had not then felt he was being rejected. But what would his father really have felt internally, despite an outward show of acknowledgement? With whom are we supposed to sympathize; and whom should we pity? Ask your muse *that*! And *then* see where it leads.

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  2. I think its one of the tough things in life to realise too late there are things you would liked to have done and said to people around you. I know my son was very brave in coming out to his grandfather, one of lifes staunch homophobes, and being accepted by him.

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    • I’m glad he was accepted. I do think it’s important to point out though that the term “homophobia” may do a disservice to some folks who are operating, whether one agrees with them or not, on a particular religious/moral platform or otherwise was raised in a generation and environment not supportive of homosexuality. One of my frustrations is that both religious folks and gays often judge each other without attempting to understand the other’s point of view. Granted, such radical groups as the Westboro Baptist Church are beneath contempt, but I’m not comfortable with condemning any perspective out of hand without at least trying to see where they’re coming from. Doesn’t necessarily mean there’ll be agreement, but we can still acknowledge that the “other” is human and not an expression of evil.

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      • Ahhh, words! What do they mean and how do we use them? In this case, we can start with “homosexual”, which literally means “same+sexual” and adequately describes the orientation or sexual focus of an individual. Then we have “homophobia”, which, if we attempt to interpret it accordingly with the roots words it employs, would mean “same+fear” or fear of sameness. Certainly that is not what it is used to mean. It is used in a non-literal manner, where “phobia” is interpreted as “aversion”, and “homo” is used as a contraction of “homosexual” or “homosexuality”. It does not offer any indication about the possible reasons, basis, or justification for the aversion to homosexuality. The root “homo” is also used to mean “human”, as in the word “homo-sapiens”, referring to humans characterized by knowledge or understanding, as distinct from merely “homo-erectus” that refers to a human that is characterized only by the ability to stand upright rather than being required to support itself using all four limbs.

        But when we consider possible justifications for an aversion to homosexuality, we must consider that the word does *not* mean “human sexuality”, but rather it refers to a behavior that is virtually opposite of the sexuality which enables humanity to continue to exist via procreation. Thus we must consider the word “evil”. Now, the definitions that are given in English dictionaries are varied, including the following:

        1a: morally reprehensible : sinful, wicked
        (as in an “evil” impulse)
        1b: arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct
        (as in a person of “evil” reputation)
        2a (archaic): inferior
        2b: causing discomfort or repulsion : offensive
        (as in an “evil” odor)
        2c: disagreeable
        (as in wakened late and in an “evil” temper)
        3a: causing harm : pernicious
        (as in the “evil” institution of slavery)
        3b: marked by misfortune : unlucky

        4a: the fact of suffering, misfortune, and wrongdoing
        4b: a cosmic evil force
        5: something that brings sorrow, distress, or calamity

        Now, the biblical Hebrew word that is usually translated as “evil” is generally a reference to something characterized by its destructive nature, causing harm rather than merely being immoral, disagreeable, or offensive. But homosexuality could be accused rightly of all these characteristics for which English uses the word “evil”. The question that must be considered when an individual human “homosexual” is considered, is whether that individual can be separated from the “evil” behavior. If so, then the individual who at one time participated in “evil” may change behavior and cease to be an embodiment of that “evil”. If not, then the individual remains guilty of “evil” behavior. That individual may remain “human”, and be acknowledged as such, while still being “evil” and pursuing anti-human behavior. In any case, the issue is not a matter of understanding “perspectives”, but of actual behavior and its consequences.

        I do hope this clarification of the terms of this discussion eliminates any associated confusion and “fuzzy” thinking about it.

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