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A spot with a view.

by Matthew Puzycki about a year ago in family
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by Matthew Puzycki

It would be hard to overstate the tranquility of the place before him. With his legs stretched out far, his feet rested in the middle of the horizon, connecting the pristine lake to the base of the mountains that twisted and turned into the clouds, further than his eyes could see. The tree at his back provided much needed shade to him and the frogs resting by the lily pads where the base of his hill met the lake.

When he was younger, he often got lost in the lines of those lily pads, mesmerized by the intricate details of the crisscrossing patterns that seemed to go on forever. To be fair, it was easy to get lost in any of the beauty around him. The field of colorful flowers to the right of the lake, the sunrise slipping beneath the tallest peak ahead of him, or the delicate sounds of animals dipping into the lake for a quick rinse.

He had many secret hideouts across the valley, but this was his favorite by far; it was the place his father taught him to fish. It was his oldest memory and some of the sights and smells from that day were so ingrained in his head, he didn't need to be beneath the beautiful oak tree now to bring them to forefront of his mind.

Like a true fisherman, him and his dad woke up before dawn. He put on rubber boots that went up to his knees and a green vest that blended in with the grassy field leading up to the lake. They sat for hours beneath the tree, and by the time he was done, he had learned how to cast his lure halfway across the water. During the learning process, he had gotten three hooks stuck in the branches that reached out above their heads, but his dad climbed the tree like a superhero and unraveled them each time. During the last attempt, he actually slipped and fell in the lake, only to save his embarrassment by catching a rainbow trout with his bare hands before coming back to land.

His dad had been the bravest and strongest man he had ever known. He later spent ten years in the Navy, so that was saying a lot. His dad passed away a few years after that first fishing experience, but that didn't stop him from coming back to this spot in the decades that followed.

As he reminisced about his past, he noticed an old lady sitting on a blanket further up on the hill. Her hands were shaking as she fidgeted with a brown box that lay atop a red checkered blanket. He didn't want to stare, so he turned back towards the beautiful horizon, and a smile crept upon his lips as he remembered his seventeenth birthday. It was a special day for him; he had his first kiss.

He woke up early that day and snuck off to his special fishing hole just after dawn. He couldn't believe it when he saw someone had beaten him to his spot beneath the tree. He was even more surprised to see it was a woman. He tried not to stare, but it was hard not to; what was more alluring than a beautiful woman casting a reel halfway across the lake while wading through the shallow waters? When she turned and showed him her beautiful blue eyes, he was hooked stronger than any of the trout he had caught during his years by those waters.

Apparently, his father's bravery hadn't been passed along to him because he would have rather fought a grizzly with his bare hands than go over and talk to her. As fate would have it that day, she ended up running out of lures and approached him first to see if he could help. He remembered his hand shaking so bad when she let him tie her line around his spinner. She must have decided he was better company than the oak tree because she stayed by his side the rest of the day.

As they cast their lines well past the sunset, he ended up missing dinner plans with his mother, receiving an earful later that was well worth it. He wasn't sure what got into him that day, but he made the girl a bet. If he caught the next trout, he would get a kiss. She agreed, but if she won, she wanted his rod. It had been passed down from his grandfather to his father to him, but hell, his dad wasn't going to rise from the dad and give him a shellacking, so he agreed. When he looked into those twinkly blue eyes again, he actually thought he was getting off easy.

About five minutes after they agreed, she reeled in the biggest brown trout that lake had ever seen. He handed over the rod with his head down, and when he looked up, her face was inches away from him; he earned that kiss anyway.

It was hard to part with that rod, but it became easier over the years when he watched her using it with their kids. They got married two years to the date of meeting at the lake, and he saw her for a grand total of five days in their first year of marriage. While deployed, other men worried about dying or getting called to the front, but the only thing he ever worried about was her leaving him. Surely, a gorgeous girl like her would find someone new while he was off thousands of miles away, spending his days stuck in hallways and bed quarters that weren't tall enough to stand in.

As he reminisced about his days in the navy, he heard some muffled noise from behind him. He wasn't sure what the old woman was doing, but he hated the fact that his secret spot had been infiltrated by another stranger. To be fair, it worked out pretty well the first time. The thought brought him back to his daydreams.

Turns out, he had nothing to worry about while he was deployed. She was the most caring and patient woman in the world, and they made the most of those five days, earning themselves a baby girl in the process. Once that happened, he started taking things a bit more seriously and did his best not to die in the war.

He was rewarded with two more beautiful girls and although they traveled a lot during those early years, he eventually got out of the navy and made his way back home to the mountains with his beautiful bride. His dreams for his family were surpassed beyond measure. His daughters grew up to be a nurse, a veterinarian, and an author, but even more importantly, they grew up to great people, just like their mother; he wasn't taking any of the credit.

And luckily enough, they enjoyed fishing as much as he did, or at least they faked it well enough for his liking. Bringing his grandson to this spot had brought so much joy to him. It was like his life had come full circle. He pictured him meeting some adventurous girl one day, one who could put him in his place just like Dorothy had done for him all those years ago.

His smile stopped mid-thought as the noise behind him became too much. He turned towards her and saw that she was crying, making him feel about about his initial ire towards her. She must have been having a bad day. He wasn't sure whether it was his place to go comfort her, but he remembered Dorothy approaching him all those years ago; that hadn't turned out so bad.

While she cupped her face in her hands and wept softly, he walked up the hill, staring at the brown box that was getting the brunt of her tears. As he got closer, she reached into it and grabbed a ceramic blue vase. Her hands were shaking as she held it beneath her chin.

When he got to the blanket, he was able to see a few words etched into the outside of the vase; Robert Stanley Miller.

That was his name.

The woman looked right at him now.

He would always recognize those eyes. It was Dorothy.

When she stared at him, thousands of other memories poured into his head. It brought him the greatest feeling of peace he had ever felt, and his heart filled with all the excitement it did on his seventeenth birthday. As he sorted through the memories of his life, some recent ones came back to him as well; the cancer diagnosis, the amazing family reunion at his home, and the last days in his bed surrounded by friends, family, and those gorgeous blue eyes.

He walked by her side as she gingerly made her way down to the tree. As she spread his ashes by his favorite spot in the world, he leaned towards her ear and whispered,

"Thank you for bringing me here."

He wasn't sure if she could hear him, but he knew she could feel his presence. She wiped away her tears and smiled.

It was the most beautiful sight in the world.

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About the author

Matthew Puzycki

Licensed Clinical Social worker and author. I have currently published one young adult novel on Amazon, entitled Forming the Javelin. I am also working on my second book, another YA about a secret psychic society. Thanks for the support!

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