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A Fresh Start
Shana allowed her feet to mold against the coarse sand, slowly picking up her pace as she went. She stopped when she was at her favorite spot, where she couldn’t go any further due to the fact that the grainy sand turned into thick stones. She sat quietly on the edge of the shore, and let her thoughts wander as the tips of the frothy waves tickled her toes. In the distance she heard the seagulls squawking their morning song. As she dug her toes into the damp sand the painful memories eased their grip on her heart, and it calmed her down.
She sat there watching the foggy gray nothingness of predawn slowly turning into a picture perfect yellow-orange sunrise. She decided to get some breakfast to fill her empty stomach. Walking back down the beach toward her favorite restaurant, Waterfront, she hummed quietly. Things were looking up. At least she wasn’t going to have to deal with alcoholic father anymore.
As she reached the dock that led up to the restaurant, she exchanged her sandy feet for a pair of flip-flops. When she opened the front door a bell went off and a friendly waitress with a nametag that read, “Brittany” greeted her kindly, “Good Morning, welcome to Waterfront, right this way.”
She led her to the back porch and sat Shana at a table that had a perfect view of the ocean. Her mind began to wade back into her thoughts, but the arrival of her regular server, Zach, brought her back to the present.
“The usual?” He asked.
“Of course.” Shana replied with a smile on her face.
“Not many people come in this early, so your food be here pretty soon.” Zach told her then walked away.
Shana fiddled with her thumbs until her bowl of steamy “New England Clam Chowder” arrived.
“With extra oyster crackers, like always.” He smiled.
“You’re the best.” Shana said as she sipped her bowl of warm soup.
Zach responded with a chuckle, then got back to his responsibilities.
With the warmness of the chowder on her throat and the beautiful sea laid out in front her, Shana couldn’t help but to relive happy memories.
“Shana Farrah, your ride is here. Shana Farrah please make your way to the front office, your ride is here.” The voice on the intercom instructed.
Shana quickly got her homework together and ran out the door, saying a quick goodbye to her teacher. Today was the day Daddy came back from his fishing trip. He would have plenty of stories to tell, along with fish for Grandma’s restaurant, Mammies’ Bayou Style Cookin.
“Hi Daddy.” she said excitedly.
“Hey sweetie.” Her father replied with a smile tugging at his lips.
Shana loved when her father picked her up from school. He always took her out to the dock to talk about her day and tell stories about his journey.
He scooped her up in his arms and walked out toward the ocean.
Shana giggled, “Daddy where are you going?”
“Out to the dock, don’t you want to hear about the mermaids?”
“Daddy, Mermaids aren’t real.” She simply stated.
“Oh, but they are, I saw them, face to face.” He said setting her down on the wooden dock, “Look, I told them about my adorable little daughter, and they gave me this.” He pulled out a pretty gold chain necklace with a single pearl on the end.
Shana squealed in delight. “Thank you daddy!” She threw her arms around her father’s neck. This was the best gift she had ever gotten.
Playing with her necklace, she slipped back into reality. That was a long time ago. Those memories brought her to a peaceful place where everything was okay. When she lived in Grand Isle, Louisiana with both of her parents. Before she moved to Camden, Maine, before Mammies’ closed, before money got tight and Mom and Dad started arguing, before the divorce.
“Asher, I can’t do this on my own anymore!” Mother yelled in frustration sorting through the bills for this month.
“Baby I’m trying, you know that.” Father slurred.
“You’re not trying! All you do these days is sit around and drink!” She spat.
“Celeste, I’m sick of yo grippin.” He mumbled whilst standing up and slamming the door behind him.
The sound of braking glass filled Shana’s ears. She ran outside to see what happened. She opened the door to find her father smashing empty beer bottles in the garage. Shards of glass lay everywhere, sparkling in the light of the single, pull string bulb.
“I just can’t take it anymore!” He yelled taking another swig from his bottle and sending crashing to the ground with the other ones.
“Dad you need to stop.” She said quietly.
“Now you don’t…you don’t tell me what to do.” He muttered.
“But, you’re just making a mess, Mom’s gonna be upset.”
“I said don’t tell me what to do!” he replied, angrily swinging a half broken bottle at her.
The bottle lodged itself under her collarbone in her left shoulder.
Taken aback by his actions she stumbled backwards into the house holding her chest.
A tear streamed down Shana’s face. That was the last she’d seen of her father. Her mother had driven her to the hospital, and while they were stitching her up, her mother filed for divorce. They stayed in a hotel for a couple days until Celeste was able to get all their stuff out of their former home. They booked a flight to Camden immediately afterwards.
Shana missed her father. She wished she could’ve said goodbye.
I don’t really care about the incident; he was under the influence of that stupid alcohol anyways. I wonder how he’s doing now; is he thinking about me, or is he still going to beer to drink his problems away?
These thoughts spun around in her head until Zach came with the check.
“Happy tenth anniversary.” he joked.
Shana looked puzzled so Zach explained, “This is the tenth time in a row that you’re here, so your meal is on the house.” Zach gave her a half grin.
“Oh, thank you so much!” Shana blabbed enthusiastically.
“No problem.” Zach said with a smile, then walked back to the kitchen.
Shana stood up, walking towards the door when Brittany called out for her to have a nice day. The people here were very polite. It made her smile.
Things really are getting better, She thought. This will be a new year, a fresh start.
She took her shoes off and let the sand squish between her toes. The sunlight shone on her skin, making every grain of sand glisten. Shana ran happily back home.
“Shana, there’s mail for you.” Her mom hollered from the living room as Shana opened the front door and dusted her sandy feet off.
“Thanks Mom.” She replied, looking at the kitchen table.
She found a single envelope with the return address, Asher Farrah.
“Dad.” She whispered and tore the envelope open.
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