At seventeen, Cal and his mother move from the city to a remote island. His mother becomes withdrawn and Cal worries that she has found out that he is gay. His father, who is stationed overseas, has warned him that if she finds out about his sexuality, it will kill her.
With no one to talk to and nowhere to go, Cal starts collecting driftwood to build himself a safe place, and while doing so, makes an unlikely friend. But when something terrible happens, will this friendship give him the strength he needs?
Our vacation home was in Hawaii. FML.
You know what I had left from our last vacation? My tan, my muscles, happy memories, a not so happy encounter with a wave too big for my skills, aka, scars, and a wonderful encounter with my gay ER nurse who not only stitched my leg up, but ... well, let’s just say we got together a few times after that just north of the nude beach, okay?
I, uh, I miss him.
I usually walk north but today, with the tide out as far as it was, I walked south. I hadn’t been this way before. About half a mile along I came to an old cemetery, just up a short, maybe six foot high bluff, twenty feet or so above the high tide line. I pulled myself up and stood there, astounded. It was completely overgrown with weeds and wildflowers, with trees taking root over some of the headstones, vines climbing up some of the monuments. There was one -- little building, what do they call it, where the dead are put inside. The door was open. I didn’t go in. I was drawn to a couple of toppled steles that were falling over the side of the bluff. They had Japanese writing on them. I hoped there weren’t any bones or anything sticking out. Some of the dates on the stones were over a hundred years old, and many were of children. Their stones had little lambs and Bible verses on them. There was one where the child -- infant, really -- had died the same day it was born. That took my mind right back to last year when Sis had made me take her for an abortion. All I did was drive and keep my mouth shut, before, during and after, not even defending myself when the other people in the waiting room cast horrid glances at me, accusation in their eyes, presuming I was the father. I was horribly embarrassed but I knew it had to be ten times worse for Sis. By the way, we call her Sis because she wants us to, because she hates her name. I like her name. If I were a girl, I’d want to be called Gertrude Primrose too, wouldn’t you?
I knew I’d never tell her about the little gravestone by my feet.
I turned and walked back onto the beach, leaping down the six feet like I really hadn’t a clue that I couldn’t fly. Of course I landed hard and fell onto my knee, where the scar from my surf encounter still stood out. That made me miss my boyfriend. Then I just sat on the fortunately dry sand, and had a major pity party for myself.
How had I not known the tide was coming in? What did it matter? In Hawaii there was only about a two foot tide. I hadn’t realized that here it was as much as ten. It came in fast, the beach disappearing almost as I watched. I was momentarily visited by the dead-fairy, the maybe I’ll die and then they’ll be sorry they moved here fairy. I had to laugh at myself. What a dope.
Then, just because I could, I gathered up all the driftwood and started piling it up, trying to build a mausoleum -- that’s the word I wanted before -- for myself, or maybe it would be just a dog house, I don’t know. Some kind of erection -- hah -- you said erection -- or maybe a monument.