I wanted to return the favor, and as is my standard, I asked if Millie would like to write a piece of flash fiction for The Time Capsule. She agreed and wrote the wonderful story below, A Long-Held Secret.
Be sure to post your thoughts on this story in the comments below. And don't forget to visit hugmamma's MIND, BODY & SOUL blog.
By Millie Vierra
Throwing open the doors we flung ourselves out of the car, shouts of “Race you!” trailing behind us as we bolted toward the beach. Running for our lives, it seemed, I was always the last to reach the rock, our favorite hangout. Rising from the ocean like a small mountain, or at least a big hill, we loved roaming the top of it exploring the thousands of holes, large and tiny, that had been carved out by the sea water. But first, we had to get out to the rock.
Whenever we decided that the destination for our Sunday picnic would be Kalama Beach in Kihei, there’d always be a sense of urgency to get there early. My brother, sister and I would have no problem jumping out of bed, quickly taking turns in the one bathroom, donning our finest for church, and sitting still during Mass, awake for the most part.
Once home, there’d be a mad rush to get breakfast on the table, chow down, clear everything away afterwards, leaving the kitchen and adjoining dining room exactly as it was before we started. Orders from my mom. Only then could we think of going to the beach. But first we helped make tuna salad sandwiches, my mom having already prepared her special potato salad the night before. A quick stop at the supermarket for bottles of soda pop, and a big bag of chips, and we were on our way.
The reason for the rush is that the earlier we arrived at Kalama, the lower the tide would be. The lower the water, the easier our trek out to the rock. Waist high water was okay, any deeper and I’d start to panic. Of the 3 of us, I couldn’t swim. So that meant my brother or sister would have to piggy-back me out to the rock. They preferred I go it alone. So did I. But whatever the circumstances, we always made it out, where we’d play for hours. Often-times my mom would join us.
Fishing off the rock was a favorite past-time. We’d bring along our bamboo poles, and pieces of shrimp to entice the fish onto our lines. The water was so clear that we could watch them as they approached the bait, circling, taking little nibbles. Sometimes they seemed so clever, eating the morsel of shrimp bit by bit, until it was completely gone. Pulling the empty hook out of the water, I’d shriek in disappointment, stomp my feet, and shake my fist at the fish who’d already swum under the rock, oblivious to what I was saying. If I could swim I might have jumped in after them. Forget the silly pole! But, of course, I didn’t love eating fish that much.
When I wasn’t casting for fish, I’d lie on my belly peering down through the depths of the bluish-green ocean. I would see things, or was it just my child’s imagination run amok? Was that a moray eel peeking out from its hiding place, or a creature, an underwater creature? Wasn’t he looking up at me, while I was staring down at him? Was that his hair gently flowing about his shoulders, or just seaweed caught in the crevices of the coral below? Sitting up on my elbows, I looked to where my brother and sister were still trying for fish with their poles. There was no sign that either noticed anything strange beneath the glassy surface of the sea. Lowering myself back down, I smiled thinking I had a secret, and that I wasn’t going to share it.
Until now, I never have.