I sat on the pier with my legs dangling over the edge, seagulls squawking noisily above me. I had been waiting almost two hours but there was no sign of him. I replayed in my mind what my mother had said to me the previous night; “I don’t know why you bother; it will only end in tears again.” But I was stubborn lad and I refused to give up on my father, even if he had given up on me; so I rose when the sun was barely over the signature rolling hills of North Yorkshire, jumped on my bicycle and headed towards a small coastal town eight miles away from our little thatched cottage in the cabbage fields.
“Go away, I haven’t got any food!” I swung my arms at the seagulls, while my own stomach rumbled and ached with hunger and disappointment. I hadn’t expected to wait this long. The sea below me foamed as time went on and the waves grew taller, like blue and white arms reaching out to grab my little wellington boots. Grey clouds started to crowd the sky and a northerly cold breeze brushed my cheeks, turning them pink.
I fumbled with the paper envelope in my pocket until the corners began to disintegrate. My faith in his ship appearing through the mist that was settling in crumbled with it. I brought my knees to my chest and wrapped my arms around myself, unsure whether to be patient and wait a little longer or to go home where there was a crackling fire and hot food waiting for me.
I chose to stay put, fiercely ignoring the growing doubts in my head. The wind picked up and along came the rain; what was a calm morning turned into a miserable autumn day. I stayed for another hour, by which point my wet hair stuck to my face and I shivered so much I had accidentally bitten my lip, dropping blood onto my chin.
I scrambled to my feet and let out an almighty scream of frustration and anger, an admission of defeat. Thunder raged in the black clouds above and rain streamed down my face with tears of sorrow and despair. I stomped my feet on the wooden panels of the pier before cowering down against them as a bolt of lightening hit my bicycle thirty feet in front of me with a loud crack and a flash of white light.
Eyes wide and panting, I looked down through the spaces between the wooden panels to see something orange tumbling in the chaotic waves below. I raced to the edge of the pier, clambered up on the barrier and peered over the edge to find a mass of broken wooden planks empty bright orange lifejackets littering the sea below.
Sarah Robin (she/her) is a new writer from Bolton, England, only starting to write during the coronavirus pandemic. She enjoys nature and wildlife, frequently exploring the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands. Robin has had several short stories published in anthologies and is a poetry competition winner. You can find her on Twitter @SRobinWriter