Sorry for skipping chapters, I will fill in those gaps later. Bear with me.
The son of the sea
Sam got back into town and reached the dive shop just as Wyatt was locking the door as he was preparing to leave. Wyatt motioned for Sam to wait. Sam stood out in front of the shop waiting for Wyatt to come around from the back after exiting the back door. Sam looked at the faded flaking paint on the walls. He could remember it from his childhood. The side wall had been painted a vibrant red with a white diagonal strip down the middle forming a giant dive flag, so as there would be no mistaking what the store was. But now it barely looked like anything. He wondered if Wyatt cared that a fresh coat of paint could make all the difference.
Sam was accustomed to telling people how to present themselves, their homes, their venues, their politics. He knew the power of presentation. It was an effort in creative dishonesty. Like a first date, but for life. Present the best possible you, you can be. He assessed the dive shop. He would reorganize the interior layout, improve the flow, he would of course repaint the outside and a new sign would replace the older one, and he would add Wyatt’s name. He was a local, that was important. A recognition point. Make the name and the shop intertwined. He wasn’t sure if Wyatt had ever thought of any of these things, but he was more sure that even if he had’ve thought of them, he could not afford the changes. Sam was beginning to really let it settle in his mind that he wasn’t in the city anymore. Wyatt came around from the back all smiles.
“You have plans for dinner tonight?”
“Come home with me, I’ve got my kid my this weekend.”
Sam hoped his face hadn’t read the shock of Wyatt having a child. He had no idea. Being back here had really done a number on his mind. He still imagined Wyatt like they were in high school. He was the last person who should have a child. Selfish, stupid, a teenager. But as a brunette woman walked in the door with a three-year-old, little blonde boy at Wyatt’s apartment he was mesmerized by how much the boy looked like Wyatt.
“He looks just like you.”
The brunette woman smiled.
“Acts just like him too. I’m Theresa –”, she paused wanting to say more, wanting to explain what was surely a lengthy and complicated story about the status of their relationship, but instead she cut herself off. “I’m Garrison’s mom.”
They exchanged pleasantries. Wyatt kissed her on the cheek when she let shortly there after. Sam could definitely sense that there was more to them than a one night stand or just a mere parenting relationship. There was a tenderness to them, but something stood between the two of them. Sam had the impression it was Wyatt, but he couldn’t figure out why, and currently he wouldn’t have time to pontificate on the subject. Sam had garnered the attention of a small guest.
Garrison was a tiny child full of questions for Sam, he had made quick friends with the child of his childhood best friend. Sam slid from the couch to the floor to play cars with Garrison on a plastic mat with printed roads, Sam kept his attention while Wyatt went to the kitchen to begin dinner. He still couldn’t believe the guy who had at nine years old had first very inaccurately described sex to Sam was now some one’s father, it was mind blowing. So much so that Sam was staggeringly brought back to reality when the small child made an off handed comment while pushing his toy truck near the blue painted outline of the ocean.
“The fish people live over here. We’re not allowed to go there.”
Sam smiled, then it registered what he had said.
“Hey Garrison, what fish people?”
The child unphased by the question kept playing while he talked.
“They live in the water, they took Daddy’s watch”
Sam was having trouble deciding whether these were the tall tales of a child or something he should pry into more. But then his questions or his fears were soon answered as this was not at all coincidence.
“Daddy saw them. They hide in the old ship.”
This suddenly struck Sam, the weather conditions that first day out on the water with Wyatt had not been ideal, but still divable for someone with his experience. And he had so heavily avoided going out again, so much so Sam now wondered whether there was another reason Wyatt wouldn’t go back in the water.
“Have you seen the fish people?” Garrison asked now stopping the truck and holding it in his small clutched hand.
Sam shook his head. “No, not yet. Maybe we can get your daddy to show me them.”
Wyatt’s responce from the doorway startled them both in the silence of the interaction.