The Reunion

In Fiction on August 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm

It’s Friday, and ’round these parts Friday means Fictioneering to the tune of Madison Woods’ photo prompts. This week the photo comes from Susan Wenzel and for once I was at a loss for ideas, but I mulled it over and did some free writing and eventually came up with this week’s offering. Enjoy!

The Reunion

“You get stronger every year,” Glenn told the clams as he dug. When he found them he pinched their shells with his callused fingers, and sometimes they ended up in his bucket but more often than not they pulled hard and disappeared beneath the sand.

He sat up and inspected his haul: three dozen gray-white shells — some cracked, others already ajar with their feet hanging out — but a good many would be fit for eating, and his sons had always loved to watch them popping open in the pit.

That was forty years ago, he reminded himself, suddenly anxious. How will it be now?

Slowly he made his way toward the rocky shore, black and sharp in the grey distance, his offering clutched tightly to his chest.


Click the blue dude for links to the other stories of the week, and, as always, feel free to help me out with some constructive criticism (I like to think of it as crowd-sourced editing).

For your browsing pleasure, you can also find links to my other fiction right here.

  1. An enjoyable piece that spoke volumes about their relationship. Well done.

  2. Clearly he hasn’t seen his family for sometime…I get a sense of conflict, driving them apart. I hope the clams are a suitable peace offering 🙂

  3. Memories always a great way to go.

    • Thanks – pretty unbelievable that your story came from a true memory!

      • One I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I was 10 minutes from home but it took almost 2 hours to find a way back onto the beach. This was long before common folks had cell phones. I had a beeper though and my family was beeping me like crazy.

  4. I feel for father and son. You communicate the uncertainty, distance between the two of them very well. I also can’t help but think of Lewis Carroll’s little oysters–those that are “ajar with their feet hanging out.”

  5. You’ve really captured the sadness of separation and the anxiety which accompanies reconnection. Good story.

  6. I like the disconnectedness-how he could just lose forty years and have it come rushing back at him. Your sense of voice and setting was great and I enjoyed reading it. Here’s mine:

  7. Thanks, Danny – I appreciate it! I’m heading over to give yours a read right now

  8. nice story. i sense the heart ache and anxiety and isolation. I’m rooting for it all to work out over clams – and maybe a few brewski’s.

  9. Very nice take on the prompt. I sense a father trying to reconnect with his sons…there is hope lingering somewhere here.

  10. A really lovely piece. You asked for constructive criticism, but I don’t have any to give – every word was the right one. My favourite story so far this week.

  11. After 40 years, I have a feeling time has healed whatever went down before and the sons may be looking forward to this reunion as much as dad.

  12. First…this was excellent! So much going on in so few words. Second…I have been clam digging enough to know what a pain those wily mollusks can be. Finally…I feel so sad for your main character. I have so many questions for him. I hope all goes well with his boys.


    • Thanks Susan – and yep, my own clam digging was the inspiration for this at the start (I don’t have middle aged sons haha). But they can be tough, and much stronger than you expect! Thanks again for the great picture to start it all off

  13. This is bittersweet Brian. Lovely way you painted a picture of the father, and how much he misses his sons, and hopes that they would be able to have the same relationship they used to have….sadly people do change and I feel a little bit sad for him. Also wondered why he hadn’t seen them for such a long time…

  14. Great story. Maybe he should have shown his feelings a bit more, then he wouldn’t have been estranged? But then there wouldn’t be any stories if everyone just got along with each other, would there? Thanks for visiting my story too.

  15. I can feel the pain of the father’s separation. Poignant piece, Brian. Very well written.
    Mine’s here:

  16. Oops sorry about that . I meant to post a link to my Friday fictioneers story. Delete that bit if you can. Cat jumped on the keyboard.

    Anyway here’s mine.

  17. Sounds like you’ve gone clam digging in the past. Hope that’s the only part based in reality. Loved it. Very believable voice.

  18. Well done, I could feel the father’s anxiety and I hope it was a good reunion.

  19. I’m not going to say anything original, Brian, as the other comments have touched on the points I would want to make. Just wanted you to know that I really enjoyed your story and that I’m enjoying all your short fiction. Good concept to pull a series of 5 sentence fiction prompts together into one story. Pleased to see how it unfolded. :)))

  20. Well done, sir. Especially the niggling with the clams at the beginning.

  21. That’s a really sweet story..

  22. Well we usually get great father and son stories from Doug, but as he’s gone smutty this week you’ve done a fantastic job of picking up the baton. Maybe we’ll fire him and have you for the role in future!
    Seriously though, great story – you tell us so much about the man and his relationship with his son in this little piece. I loved the first line about the clams getting stronger – perfect way of ntroducing his age to the careful reader.

    I’m over here:

  23. Sorry it took me so long to get here! It was a wild weekend!
    I love your word choice to set the mood and tone of the piece. “black and sharp.” I could feel my own hand digging into the sand to “pinch” the clam. Great writing!

  24. Awesome piece of reflection about your MC’s sons. It’s very endearing and covers some very powerful emotions in such a tiny amount of space. Lovely. Thanks for commenting on my story. Here’s the link for others even though it’s Monday already.

  25. What a perfect way to show his memories and anxieties about the relationship! I hope the clambake is the bridge that will bring them to the start of recreating their sense of family.

  26. I enjoyed the sentiment in your story, and wondered about what happened (or didn’t happen) in those 40 years, that brought your character’s apprehension. Good job!

  27. I like the way that the clams have grown stronger over the last forty years. It made me think back forty years and how just about everything was much lighter and easier to carry in those days.

  28. Dear Brian,

    “…his offering clutched tightly to his chest.” I really enjoyed this piece, Brian. Age illustrated with subtle yet telling strokes. The foreboding shore, the bleak feel to it all. A Winslow Homer painting from his dark period. Bold strokes this week my friend.



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