Writing Prompt Wednesday #45
Write about someone who returns as an adult to a place they last visited as a child.https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/general/write-about-someone-who-returns-as-an-adult-to-a-p/
TW: Mentions of death
I was 15 years old when I last came to the lake in the mountains. I used to come here all the time as a kid, camping trips almost every other weekend with my father and my brother Quinten. We had such a great time, Quinten, my father, and I. I would look forward to those trips all week.
But then...disaster. My dad had been in an awful accident, died a few hours later. I couldn’t handle it. At 18, Quinten was left to take care of me. I did my best to help him, but I was only 15 and he wouldn’t let me quit high school to get a job. The two of us didn’t have time to go to the lake anymore, and we couldn’t have handled it either. I thought about coming back a few times throughout the years, but the thought of it sent me into hysterics.
So why I was I here, 20 years later?
Quinten had suggested the trip after he had uncovered some old photos of the three of us up here. Fishing, hunting, canoeing-all of the things we used to do together. He thought it’d be a good idea to come back up here, see the old place. I disagreed, but he dragged me along anyways.
“Let’s set up camp,” he said, climbing out of the old pickup.
“Sure,” I said, lugging a tent bag over my shoulder. “I haven’t set up a tent in so long, I don’t know if I remember how.”
“Aw, it’s okay, we’ll be fine,” Quinten said. He sighed, looking around at the lake. “It’s so good to be back.”
“Yep,” I murmured. “Really good.”
“What’s wrong?” Quinten asked.
“Doesn’t it feel wrong to be here? Without dad?”
“I think he would’ve liked us honoring his memory.”
I didn’t have a response to that, so I kept carrying the supplies over to our campsite. “It’s so dusty,” I said.
“As dirt is,” Quinten laughed. “Help me with this tent.”
I grabbed the tent pole, struggling to piece all of it together. “I told you I wouldn’t be able to put it together.”
“Like this,” Quinten said, easily piecing the pole together. “Here, try to find a rock to hammer the poles in.”
“I can’t find one,” I said after a short while of searching. “It’s so hot out can’t we just go home?”
“Why are you being such a baby about this?” Quinten asked.
“Well I’m sorry but I didn’t want to come here anyways.”
Quinten sighed, climbing to his feet. “Follow me.”
“Follow me, we’re going on a hike.”
“What? But I don’t want to go on a hike and we haven’t even set up anything. Hey, wait up!”
I followed Quinten through the woods, walking along a rough dirt path, climbing higher and higher. I tried to ask him where we were going every few minutes, but he wouldn’t respond. He kept climbing, and I had no choice but to follow.
Finally, when I thought that I couldn’t go any further, we entered a clearing. A huge pine tree stood in the middle, and you could look over the edge and see the lake, as far as the eye could see.
“Hey, this place looks familiar,” I said. “Have we been here-hey, what are you doing?”
Quinten had found a shovel leaning against a tree and had begun digging a hole at the edge of the tree in the middle of the clearing. “Quinten?” I asked.
Quinten kept digging and digging, until he had unearthed a wooden box. “A little help?” he asked.
“Oh, yeah, right,” I said. I grabbed the other handle of the box and helped Quinten lift it up out of the dirt. Breathing heavily, I watched Quinten unlatch the box.
“Come here,” he said.
I inched closer to the box, looking inside of it. There was a letter, many small photographs, and a telescope obviously made for a small child. “What is this?”
“Dad left it for us years ago,” Quinten said. “It was in his will, here take a look.”
He handed me the letter. The sight of Dad’s scribbled writing made my eyes fill with tears.
I’m so glad that you found my lock box. I hope you guys are having fun up here without me. I hope you both don’t miss me too much.
I wish I could see the amazing people you’ve grown into. I remember when you were 4 Theo and Quinten was 7 and we went out in our canoe. Well Theo you fell into the water and Quinten dived in to save you. And you both were shaking and shivering and Theo you asked Quinten why he did it and Quinten you said it was because he’d always be there for you. And from then on I’ve known that even after I was gone, you two would be okay cause you’d always look out for each other.
I know I wasn’t the best father, you boys should’ve had a mom in your life. I wish I could’ve fixed that. But I hope that, even though I’m gone, you two are still looking out for each other. I love you both.
Underneath the writing was a dusty, folded picture of him and two young boys in a canoe. Quinten stood by the side while I held up the oar above my head, smiling widely.
“Why didn’t you show me this before? Why didn’t we come here before?”
“You couldn’t have handled it,” Quinten said. “Like dad said, I’ll always be here to look out for you. It’s time to come to terms with Dad’s death.”
Sobbing, I buried my head into Quinten’s shoulder. “I-I want to I just don’t know how.”
“It’s okay Theo, I’m here,” he said. “I’m here.”
I made my way to the edge of the clearing, looking out to the lake. All of the memories came flooding back, all of the good times the three of us had shared. I wiped away my tears. “We’re home dad, we’re home.”
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