Embracing Goodbye With Normal
After a long drive across the country, the Rambler wagon looked as old as it really was. When we left California it was sparkling, the chrome was polished, the sandy beige paint waxed, and windows wiped, but now, she was dusty, and the bugs that didn't move fast enough to get out of her way had their own memorial on the windshield. The drive would be good for me, give me time to think about things. It had been nearly thirty years since I had been to the farm, and now it would be mine. I wasn't sure what I would do with a watermelon farm, but I was sure that we would be happy wherever we were, as long as we were together.
There was just enough room in the backseat for Normal, my golden retriever, to curl up on the passenger side, which was his favorite place to ride, with the window half open and a clear view of me. We've been traveling companions for almost as long as I have had Lily, that's what I called the Rambler when it was still my grandfather's car. I have fond memories of how Grampa used to let me sit up front with him and chew Wrigley's Doublemint gum. It might be a small thing to some people, but Grampa would not let anyone eat or drink in his car, just me, so no matter how old I got, I always felt safe, small and protected when I was riding in Lily.
It took us four days to get to where we were going. We both had pit stops and took time to get out and walk along the way. Even though it had been years since I last saw Grampa, little video clips were playing out in my head of memories that we shared together. He had lived until he was 96 years old, a happy man with simple dreams, putting him to rest in the place he loved most seemed fitting.
Eastpoint was hot this time of year, and we were both ready to stretch our legs. The map said I needed to be on Hickory Dip road, but the ocean was so inviting I took a detour to walk across the soft sand in bare feet with Normal.
Florida sand was so different from the sharp, dark sand of California beaches, and the atmosphere was quiet, the people were too. Most of the community was tied to the water in some way. It seemed fitting to be here now, as our own worlds began to quiet down. The crematorium sent Grampa's remains in a nice urn that had the chorus from Lady Antebellum's song Never Alone on it. Part of me wanted to keep it, hold it, set it on a mantle somewhere that I could see it when I wanted to, but he wanted to be free in the waters that he loved, so I opened the lid, and sprinkled a bit of the ash into the water at my feet as I continued to walk with Normal, until the urn was empty and my tears had dried. There was a slow breeze moving in over the water, and it wouldn't be long before the sun set.
"Well, Normal, I guess it's time to go home now."
He raced to the car, and sat at the door waiting for me to open it.
"Here's to another stretch of life near the water Grampa" I said as I set the empty urn on the seat beside me and we headed out to Hickory Dip road to pick up where Grampa had left off.
"Do you like watermelon, Normal?"
I turned the radio on for some music and Lady Antebellum's song began to play. I smiled into the rear view mirror.
"Love you Grampa."
© k~ 2015
This short fiction write was done for Master Class 2015.