The kitchen smelled of fried fish and potatoes. George sat on one side of the table, his son-in-law and daughter on the other.
"Fishing's been good this year. Caught me some nice bass." George liked to fish. You had time to think or do nothing at all out on the lake.
"You ever consider just leaving the fish be," Peter said. He was finishing up his plate of hash browns, wouldn't touch the fish.
George regretted bringing up the fishing, regretted serving fish. We're vegetarians, his daughter, Katherine, had told him. The word "we're" always kept him out.
"There's pie in the fridge. Want any?" she was speaking to both of them, but only George looked up, and said, yes. She poked her husband’s sleeve. "Do you want any?"
"I don’t need pie."
"There's no fish in it," said George.
Peter wiped his mouth and pushed himself away from the table. "We shouldn't have come," he said to his wife.
Katherine slumped down on her husband’s empty chair. "He doesn't mean it, you know."
"Well, he's entitled to his say." George dug into the pie. "You remember catching your first fish?"
"I was three and cold."
"Roche Point. Doesn’t get any better," George said. .
"Can you take me out there tomorrow?"
She gave him a playful punch in the shoulder. "No, Dad, diving."
* * *
George made his way to the dock. He was proud of the dock: it was solid, made to last, just like the house he had built for the three of them Katherine, her mother, him. Her mother had moved out before the house was finished, hadn’t seen it growing, changing.
He pulled a flask of rye from his jacket pocket. There was no moon out that night and the darkness had erased the ragged shoreline. With summer coming to an end, the evening air was getting cooler. The seasons passed so quickly now, only the winter seemed to go on forever.
His daughter and Peter had left the bedroom window open and he could here their voices loud and strident like gulls squawking over a garbage dump..
Did his son-in-law blame his daughter for coming to the lake every summer? He thought she should defend herself. Katherine means well he wanted to shout back.
He took another drink, wiped his nose with his sleeve. Maybe he should speak to Katherine about her troubles, say something wise, fatherly, and yet he knew there was nothing he could say. He was never good at giving advice. In the end people figured things out for themselves. That’s the way it had always been.
Tomorrow he would take her to Roche Point where she could dive from the rocks, just as she did at twelve. Katherine would stand tall and brown, her arms poised over her head. "Watch me, Daddy," she would shout. George would give his daughter the thumbs up and she would fly through the sky. A golden eagle.
LOUISA HOWEROW has had poetry and prose published in small print magazines, journals and on-line. Her latest work appeared in Hiss Quarterly and in Sojourn (University of Texas).
For now the motivation for this piece remains a secret.