A Turning of the Tides Part I

A Story of Gain, Loss and Redemption 
(Drawn from my memoirs.)

With the clouds breaking the sun’s extended arms he sat alone upon the ocean’s edge, a shadow lingering among his thoughts. Tomorrow I leave paradise and return home to Papa Joe’s funeral, he thought.

At that very moment, nearly five thousand miles away his family was gathering together to mourn the passing of a man who would gladly give his last dime to anybody who really needed it. To anybody who asked. But because he felt that the hoodlums who approached him that Friday night weren’t deserving of his wallet Papa Joe put up a struggle. He fought hard but was rendered unconscious by a single shot; one miniscule piece of lead that would send him immediately to the hospital and ultimately to his untimely death.

Before Ricky left Chicago for Kauai, he was reassured time and time again that Papa Joe would be out of the hospital in no time. But they didn’t tell him that he’d be dead. Perhaps nobody really knew, he figured, as he watched in the distance a family gather up seashells from a golden stretch. Perhaps the doctors missed something. Maybe because of Papa Joe’s spirits, the doctors felt he was making a miraculous recovery. But Papa Joe was always in high spirits. That was just his nature. He never complained about anything. He was a gentle man and he was a giving man. And in the end he gave his life for what he believed was right.

“Ricky, I’m so sorry about your grandfather. I’m so sorry.” Hearing the soft voice, he turned from the sea. Standing before him was Andrea. “Oh, I know you are,” he replied. With a continuous line of swaying palms and coconut trees working themselves into a picturesque backdrop, she, in her flowered sundress, provided him a reprieve from such a darkened mood. Perhaps she was an angel, sent down to offer comfort in such a trying time.



Spouting Horn, Kauai

“I’m so sorry about your grandfather,” she repeated. She sat down beside him. Above, a cluster of clouds separated and a few rays of the Hawaiian sun were filtered back in. She squinted her child’s eyes toward the sea. “I know how you feel,” she said. “I know, I know . . . I really do!” After a long silence, a few tall waves rolled in and breached the shoreline. She suddenly jumped up. “I know because my granddaddy died too. And he was the best granddaddy in the whole world!” He looked up at her. Half her face was streaked in sunlight, the other half streaked with tears.

“‘I didn’t know,” he said. This was the first he heard about her grandfather. Before this day she never mentioned him, maybe it was too painful for her to talk about him. She spun around and now both the sides of her face were soaked with tears. “I didn’t know about your grandfather, Andrea. I was wondering why . . . I mean, I didn’t know you had a grandfather who died.”

“It’s true!” she exploded. “About two . . . two . . . two years ago!” Suddenly, just as soon as the breeze thickened, she dashed off, her little feet kicking up wisps of sand.

He jumped up and ran after her. Grains of sand mixed with tears, caught in the downdraft, blew remorsefully into his face, stinging his bare skin and penetrating his heart. He called out. “Andrea, wait for me.”


copyright 2021 by Ricky J. Fico & Golden Renaissance Productions.


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