Memory Lane

I’ve been DeviantArting again. Here’s a short, 350 (2-minute) flash inspired by the image below.

Well, for the first time ever, the image author asked me to remove the image from my post. That’s their prerogative, I’m happy that they’re so successful that they can decline the free publicity I was offering. So… you’ll have to go with your imagination and my woeful description instead.

The image showed a man, about forty, sitting on a jetty. He has a pensive expression and is dressed upper-half: smart, but lower-half: jeans. Lying beside him on the jetty, is an old sit-up-and-beg bicycle.

The jetty lies on a large river. It might be the Rhein or the Hudson or the Potomac, but it’s a rural setting. The opposite bank is visible, but a few hundred yards away.

“Thanks for this send-off, Maarten. Your father would have approved.”

“Thanks for coming, Mr De Witt. Papa would have been pleased you could make it today.”

“Please, Gottfried.” As they shook hands, Gottfried leaned in. “Any way I can assist, let me know. Your father and I went back a long way. I’d be happy to help.” Grasping the man’s arm, Maarten murmured, “Thank you Gottfried. Perhaps to sometimes come in and feed his cat? Just until we decide what to do with him? But for now, thank you for seeing dad off. I know he appreciated it.”

“You have my number.”, chimed the man.

Closing the front door, Maarten took a deep breath. The last of the mourners, gone. He sighed with relief. He’d now buried both Mama and Papa within the space of three years and couldn’t help chuckling to himself: he was a forty-year-old orphan. He glanced around. Faced with all of their memories, he dreaded the task ahead. But that could wait until tomorrow.

Maarten was interrupted by a hungry Sampson, a handsome black-and-white tom, who emerged cautiously from upstairs.

“Hello, there, old boy. Been hiding? It’s okay. All those people are gone now, so shall we fix you a late lunch? I think you might be in luck today – how does leftover salmon grab you?”

Having fed the cat, though, Maarten needed fresh air.

“Pa…”, he began, before reminding himself that he was alone now. He could “borrow” whatever he pleased, it was his now, anyway. Having the foresight to change out of his good suit, he stole to the shed, where he quickly found Papa’s old bicycle.

Even as he wheeled it out, he wasn’t sure of his plans. Just ride… let the breeze shake the cobwebs from his head. Until he reached Dorpsweg, where the full blast of cool river air jogged his memory. The jetty where Papa taught him to fish. He’d not even seen the Waal since he left home and… well, that was almost twenty years ago.

I wonder…?  


The Waal is one of the Dutch names for the Rhein.

20 comments

  1. Quite touching and a lovely read. Flowed beautifully and I loved the little convo between Maarten and Sampson (my son’s cat is called Sampson). Many of us are in the same situation as Maarten; very relatable, Pete. Wonderful write. 🌟

    Like

    • Y. I found it strange but that’s his prerogative. Good look to him. I’ll have to start thinking how I can use images to inspire me, but not use them in the actual stories. Strictly speaking I should have asked but at this level most people like to see their work promoted. I used the link to his image and everything, made it clear who he was.

      Liked by 1 person

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