Day 264 – The Lobster’s Claw

Word count: 706

Derek stood outside the beach house. It was a rundown husk of what it formerly was. Seagulls pecked away at the crumbling concrete; memories of an era long past. It had been decades since he had been here. The drive over here was bad enough. He had to stop several times, tears streaming down his face like waterfalls. Memories flashed through his mind like daggers to his eyes. He thought he was over this. He had been through therapy, sessions, counselling; he had spent most of his childhood talking and taking pills after pills. But the time had come to face what he had tried to forget.

It was his girlfriend that had suggested it. Too many sleepless nights had disrupted their relationship. Insomnia at least brought relief to Derek, as sleep only meant nightmarish pain and trauma. But for Rachel, it had to stop. They were always arguing, bickering; they were falling apart and fading away into a couple that hated being in each other’s company. It was tearing Derek apart; face up to his past, or live a future without Rachel.

The sea splashed against the harbour wall. Far off a lighthouse stood on a solitary rock; a disused emblem of a fishing town long dead. It was quiet down here. Most people were most likely at work, commuting into the bigger towns no doubt. There was nothing here but a few corner shops and a chippy.

Graffiti was chalked all over the building; the windows boarded up and rubbish crammed into the tightest corners where the brick had eroded away. This was it; what had feared all these years. It seemed so pathetic, so empty now. What kind of fool had he been to allow that one moment to define him? He wished his father was still alive so that he could apologise for all the crying; for all the expense, the getting up in the middle of the night to help with the bad dreams; for all the cuddles when they should have been playing football outside.

Rachel could not make it in the end, but he was glad that he had come here alone.

The memories bubbled up fresh in his mind. A wonderful day spent at the beach that ended in disasters. He was teasing his sister, as usual. Pulling her hair or something. There was sand in his shoes – well everywhere in fact. But they had enjoyed every minute of it. The sun was blaring out, a warm heat blasting defiantly through the British atmosphere.

They had ordered the platter. A random assortments of mussels, prawns and all sorts of seafoods. His little sister had fish fingers and ketchup. Derek remembered the sense of awe that had overcome him when the lobster came forth, resting like royalty on the waiter’s silver tray. It was placed ceremoniously in the centre of the table. Derek had giggled with excitement. What was this strange food? He had heard of it, perhaps seen it before on T.V, but it was nothing like seeing it in reality. He had been jumping up and down with excitement, waiting for his dad to break it apart, when it had happened.

Derek could not contain himself any longer. He saw what he wanted and he wanted to have it. Before he could stop himself, he was nabbing for the lobster. His hands were all over its oily body and – it struck him right in the eye.

Launched by the pressure he was applying to it, the lobster’s claw had rocketed across the table and plates and straight into his socket. Pain he had never felt before or since hurtled right through his brain as if he been struck by lightening. Blood was pouring out of his eye, he was sure of it…. the rest remains dark, forgotten to terror.

Derek placed a hand on the cold stone. Though the building was shut, the memories would always remain. His psychiatrist had always said; it was not how to forget, but how to deal with the distress. But there was one thing that he had suddenly remembered: after all these years, Derek finally realised he should have listened to his parents and had the fish fingers, too, instead.

~ by S.G. Mark on June 27, 2012.

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