Follow Tristan and Amy on an adventure as unpredictable as the sea.
Follow Tristan and Amy on an adventure as unpredictable as the sea.
“Tristan! Do you want some lunch!” Aunt Kathy was right on time with her lunch cue. Twelve o’ one on the dot and never a second later.
“Yeah I’m on my way down,” I call back. She responds with an okay. I climb out of bed and put down my latest piece of work. Writing was never something I expected to do, but I had become semi-successful with it. After being honorably discharged from the Coast Guard it was all I had. I walked over to my dresser and picked up a bottle of yellow pills, I took one out and put it in my pocket to take it with my lunch. At twenty-two it seemed ridiculous that I’d hit my mid-life crisis, but being a rescue swimmer can have an impact on you physically and mentally. I wish I could’ve saved her. I shook the memory out of my head.
I looked into the mirror on the dresser. My hair was buzz cut and my skin a tanned white. I was losing some of my muscle from my lack of working out, but the definition was definitely still there as was the tattoo on my right arm. “Jaquiline: The one who got away.” Again I shook the traumatizing memory from my head. I walked towards the door glimpsing out the window as I did and noticed a woman and a small boy standing outside of the house next door. No one had lived there in five years since the old couple passed. The woman was staring at the house she looked sad and I could tell she had come from far away. The young boy looked full of energy. Their vehicle was full of boxes.
“Tristan! Hurry up!” Aunt Kathy screamed. I drew my attention away from the window and walked out of my room and down a small spiral staircase that led to another small door. I opened it and walked across the top of the book case that aligned the library’s walls until I got to the ladder and climbed down. The library door was open so I walked out and downstairs into the kitchen.
Aunt Kathy had prepared my favorite meal a peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich with Cape Cod salt and vinegar kettle cooked chips and Pepsi in a glass. I took a seat on one of the bar stools behind the island. Aunt Kathy joined me. From where we sat behind the island we faced the sink which had an enormous window that looked out to the sea. My Aunt Kathy’s house was built on her own small little peninsula in Newport, North Carolina. It was a town of just houses. The nearest anything was in Motörhead city which was quite the drive, luckily a small grocery shop and gas station had opened up a few miles down Mill Creek Road. My aunt’s house was the only house on Indian Shores Court so she had turned the road into a gravel driveway and put a gate at the end. She had a mansion that most people would kill for.
“Your mother called again today she wanted to know how you were holding up,” Aunt Kathy said as she took a sip of her iced tea.
“Are you sure it was about me and not you?” I asked. Aunt Kathy hated when I countered her questions.
“I have cancer. I’ll be fine, it’s nothing compared to your panic disorder. You screamed in your sleep again. Called her name. You’re having more panic attacks now then ever,” Aunt Kathy said softly. I hated when she told me about the screaming. It always brought me back to that mission.
“I saw a woman and a little boy over at the Robertson’s old house,” I said changing the subject.
“Well I’ll be damned to see anyone clean up that mess of a house. In the five years since they’ve passed bless their souls that house looks like a dump. Sad part is it would sell for over two million if someone would clean it up.” Aunt Kathy replied.
“Well they looked like they were moving in,” I said. Aunt Kathy laughed.
“Well may God help her clean. Was she cute?” Another one of Aunt Kathy’s favorite things finding me a soul mate.
“I saw her from the window in my room,” I said avoiding a yes or a no. To be honest I couldn’t quite make out her face.
“Well at any rate you should be a gentleman and go help her clean some of that dump up,” Aunt Kathy pushed.
“No thank you, the last thing I need is to be away from you should you pass out again,” I said. She scoffed.
“I pass out one time and your mother sends you down here to watch me. I swear my younger sister is a pest,” Aunt Kathy says.
“She’s your twin, younger by three minutes,” I said.
“The key words being younger,” Aunt Kathy hooted. Aunt Kathy and mom were both forty-two but they looked younger, and with Aunt Kathy’s personality added in you would think maybe early thirties, late twenties. She had brown flowing hair and hazel eyes. I had gotten the brown hair from my mom’s side but my eyes were a royal blue that I assume are from Dad, but I never knew him so I couldn’t be sure. A college one night fling and then nine months later there I was.
“Do you need me to take you to chemo today?” I ask. Aunt Kathy gazes out the window and stares at the calm sea for a second before nodding yes. I grab my empty plate and she hands me hers. The are disposable so I just toss them and then grab and rinse the cups before loading them into the empty dishwasher.
“You know we should go out to the beach and have a campfire like we used to on weekends you would visit,” Aunt Kathy said. I chuckled as I remembered our outrageous camp fires. Me, mom and Aunt Kathy sitting around roasting marshmallows and telling scary stories that ended up making us laugh rather than be scared.
“How about tonight it’s Saturday and I have no plans in the near future,” I joke. Aunt Kathy manages a laugh.
“Yeah we will need to stop by the grocery store on our way back from…” a slight hesitation and then, “my appointment.”
“Ok. Too bad they haven’t gotten their liquor license yet,” I said.
“Yes liquor and anxiety and cancer sounds like a good threesome,” Aunt Kathy jokes. She’s right though neither of us is to be drinking at all. What has my life become?
“Ok well it’s almost twelve thirty so I’m going to grab the keys while you grab whatever you need and lets get going then,” I say. Aunt Kathy nods. I walk over to the back door and grab the keys to my red two thousand and ten Jeep Wrangler. It could hold four people and I had taken the doors and the hard cover off because I liked feeling the cool North Carolina air. Summer had just started so the air would be nice, as would the smell of the sea. I walk to the four car garage and start up the Jeep. Aunt Kathy comes out several minutes later and we back out. I turn the car around and head for the gate closing the garage behind us. As I approach the gate I shift the manual Jeep into neutral allowing it to slowly roll while the black metal gate swings open.
“I hate when you do that,” again right on cue. I laugh and Aunt Kathy gives me a soft punch on my arm. We turn right onto Mill Creek Road. We pass the house to the left of Aunt Kathy’s. It had just a short drive way right off of the road and a chain fence that had been opened. Again I see the woman this time she is hugging the little boy and probably crying.
“You weren’t joking,” Aunt Kathy says as we pass the house. The drive to Carteret General Hospital was a good thirty minute drive and Aunt Kathy was usually quiet. Once we got to the hospital the chemo took about an hour and then we headed to the Mill Creek Small Grocery & Gas. It took Aunt Kathy all of five minutes to go in buy marshmallows, graham crackers, and Hershey’s chocolate bars. We drove home again passing the old house. This time only the car in the driveway and some lights on in the house.
“Surprised the bulbs still work,” Aunt Kathy says. I laugh as we pull onto Indian Shores Court. I pull the Jeep into the garage and walk inside.
“I’m going to lay down,” Aunt Kathy says.
“I’ll be upstairs writing then,” I say. Aunt Kathy nods.
“Dinner at six thirty sharp.” she says and I say okay. Her bed room is on the first floor. As I begin my climb up the stairs I hear the vomiting start. It makes me cringe every time. I couldn’t believe it when Mom had told me she had been diagnosed. I remember thinking not Aunt Kathy, but she had been. For six months now and the chemo was helping. Mom flew me down from Alaska to live with her after the hospital called saying she had passed out while driving and gotten into a pretty serious wreck. Aunt Kathy was hesitant but I’ve been here two months already and it’s home for all intents and purposes.
When I get to my room I turn on the light as some clouds had come in. I look out and see through my window the woman again. She is staring out at the open sea. The wind blows her hair furiously. Then the little boy runs out with something in his hand the two start laughing and head inside. I decide to take a nap rather than write. My fans, the few they are, can wait to see what happens in the next book in The Solar War series until later. I grab my iPhone and set an alarm for six fifteen and six twenty. Don’t want to be late for dinner I think as I close my eyes and fall into a deep sleep almost instantly.