a day at the beach

Again, I didn’t belong there.

I can’t remember getting on the boat; the first thing I remember is watching two visibly older parents (made older by the events of the past month) watching a boat full of family take what was left of their boy.

They couldn’t get on the boat.  They couldn’t come along.

Not because they weren’t allowed, but because they had already gone through too much.

It was a voluntary decision to not watch the final ceremony.

So they stood.  Together.

On a gas dock.

Their faces twisted with grief.  Him with one arm raised in a good-bye gesture.

To the boats?  To his family?  To his son?

I don’t remember who drove the boat.

Three siblings sat on the bow: the last ride with Pops.

an aunt and a future in-law held each other in the stern.

a widow clutched a metal box.

a pastor held his robes against the breeze.

and I sat alone in a small corner.



The day was a cliche.  Bright and sunny and warm with the right wind.

People on the beach and pier were getting in their last summer kicks and watching all the boats go through the channel.

They had no idea what was on the first boat.

They had no idea no one was having fun this Labor Day weekend.

I knew those people were coveting the place the siblings held on the bow.  I once watched boats and coveted that spot too.

That spot?  I hope I am never in that spot.

Everything was the way he planned it.

Nothing was the way any of them wanted it.

And I watched it without tears.

From my corner.

This post was written in response to this picture prompt.  To read why we were on the boat, please go here.


About ksluiter

Just a small town girl...wait no, that is a Journey song. Although I do live in a small town. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, and a writer. We have joys and we have struggles. Just like you.
This entry was posted in beach love, being an adult is really not that great, being free, i can't handle death, life changes, missing a you and a me, nonfiction, out of my control, Red Dress Club, stuff that means stuff, things we don't talk about, we are supposed to remember. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to a day at the beach

  1. I am interested to see where you go with this. You definitely painted the picture of being lonely, and an outsider. Keep going, sister…

    • ksluiter says:

      thanks, Cheryl. this time period was supposed to be the happiest time of our life…but it got marred. and sometimes i think we are still recovering from that.

  2. Ratz says:

    I loved the line “The day was a cliche. ” I see that you have taken this from your life…

  3. Jackie says:

    I read this through and then followed all the other links as to why you’re on the boat. So sad. But excellent writing.
    It has to be very difficult being the outside and feeling apart from everyone else and hopefully writing about it is therapeutic.

  4. Carrie says:

    The strongest writing comes from our lives I think. This piece is full of emotion and I hope it is therapeutic for you to get it out.

    Visiting from Red Writing Hood

  5. This is beautiful. I am on the boat with you, watching them wave. Thanks for taking me there.

  6. Kim says:

    I agree with Carrie, writing what we know creates the best kind of writing. This resonated with me, having recently lost my younger brother. Sigh.

  7. amanda says:

    Found you via Red Writing Hood. Lovely, sad — the last three lines gave their subtle punch…

  8. cristina says:

    so beautiful.. and sad.

  9. This is so beautiful and heartbreaking. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Nichole says:

    Oh, Katie.
    I know the story of why you were on that boat and it still chokes me up when I think about it.

    This is beautifully done. I especially liked this part:
    “Their faces twisted with grief. Him with one arm raised in a good-bye gesture.
    To the boats? To his family? To his son?”

    Hugs to you and Cort.

  11. Kristy says:

    So sad! Very good, well written. Just sad.

  12. Pingback: For the Love…Of Blogging: Writing Wednesday « Sluiter Nation

  13. Pingback: on writing and stuff | Sluiter Nation

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