Arthur pulled into the driveway of a shabby-looking, two story house that have a back porch facing the beach. The house had a fading façade, its white paint peeling off. The windows were bleak with dried raindrops, some shingles were missing from the roof, and the wood that supported the awning seem on the verge of collapsing. In conclusion, the whole house seems decrepit compared to the mini mansions that stood in each side.
It took only seconds for Brooke to conclude that, without a doubt, the other houses look healthier compared to theirs. She got out of the car and lingered at its side while her father was already approaching the stairs. When he stepped on them, a creaky sound was produced from it, the old wood seem to be complaining about the years of abandonment.
Arthur glanced back and saw Brooke looking at the house with discomfort. “C’mon Brooke, the house’s not going to eat you.”
“But it might fall on us,” she muttered, slowly walking toward her father. What kind of house was this? Is this livable?
Arthur inserted the key inside the keyhole and turned it, something clicked. His hand closed on the knob and turned it. The door would not budge; he tried harder, his shoulder pressing lightly on the door, then harder. The wood, it appeared to Brooke, was in the precarious situation of breaking if her father continued with his pressure. As if answering her pleas, the door finally swung opened with great force. Winds of moisture and time gushed out of the house, carrying dust with it.
Brooke covered her eyes, itching with over exposure to dust, and coughed.
“That wasn’t bad,” Arthur commented, his hands were on his hips as he walked around what seem to be the living room.
“Yeah right,” Brooke said, walking over the threshold. At least the interior was better looking than the exterior, the wallpaper was not fading. She scanned the room, scanty of furniture, there was enough space for a couch and an armchair facing a television placed upon a shelf. To the right, stood the kitchen with a small table for two, at the end of the hall there was a screen door that leads to the back porch and eventually the sea. To the left of the screen door were the stairs leading to the second story which contained two bedrooms and a restroom.
“Home sweet home, right?” Arthur asked enthusiastic, “at least for our summer vacations.”
“Was this the best you could get?” Brooke asked, brushing some spider web off the bookshelf. She ran a finger, cleansing the glass surface of a photo frame from dust. She was staring at an old photograph with three people in there: a father, a mother, and a little skinny boy. “Is that you, dad?”
Arthur walked over to his daughter and examined the photograph closer, “yes, that’s me. This was, in fact, my family’s summer house. You might see it old, that’s because nobody has stepped through that door in more than ten years.”
“I figured as much,” Brooke said, scanning the rest of the photographs.
“How about we start unpacking?” he asked in a cheerful voice. He was already looking forward for the time they would spend together.
The sound of the gentle rolling of the waves reached their ears, creating a comfortable environment. The sea always had that soothing and calming effect, controlling even the strongest of rages. Father and daughter remained almost five minutes in silence, rejoicing in the appeasing sound of dancing water. A knock on the door brought them back from their silent haven, both of them turned to look at the visitor.
“Look who is back!” was the greeting of the short and stout man standing at the doorway. He crossed the threshold with arms wide open, welcoming Arthur and Brooke.
“Mike!” Arthur exclaimed, embracing the meaty man who was wearing a bermuda and a Hawaiian shirt.
“Great to have our favorite scientist in town,” Mike said then turned to Brooke, “this must be your daughter, Brooke right?”
“Yes, sir,” Brooke answered. She was caught in a squeeze by Mike’s powerful arms, her face buried on his tobacco-smelling shirt. When Mike let her go she sniffed and wiped away the drops of sweat off her face, she refused to question whose it was.
“It’s been long!” Mike said walking around the leaving room, the wooden floorboards squeaking underneath his weight. “This place looks the same even after seventeen years!”
“Yeah, it’s glad to be back to my roots, right?” Arthur said, “How’s life going? I sorry for not visiting you in all these years, I’ve been quite busy.” He gave Mike an apologetic smile.
“It’s all good, Arthur,” Mike said, patting Arthur’s shoulder. “We’ve been good thanks. Molly and the kids are fine; both of you should join us to dinner some day. Our fourth member is due in August by the way.”
“That’s amazing news!” Arthur gave Mike a half squeeze, “congratulations. Dinner sounds great, anytime!”
“So, what brings you here?” asked Mike.
“Vacations with my daughter,” Arthur answered, somewhat confused and taken aback by the question. “It was time we spent some quality time together.” He flashed a bright grin to Brooke, who returned it with a forced smile.
Brooke paced around the room, trying to appear distracted when her ears were yearning for more information.
Mike chuckled at Arthur’s answer as if it was the most absurd thing he ever heard in his life. “Walker, I have known you enough to determine you are not here only for vacations. Ever since I met you work has been first, come on, what’s it now? Aquarium needs help?”
Arthur couldn’t find words to answer Mike’s questions, he felt hurt in a way. He glanced at Brooke briefly and when he decided she was not within hearing range and in her own world he confessed. “This house was left to me by my parents but I have no idea what to do with it and I am not considering moving back to Cannon Beach just yet. I got complains from the neighborhood that if I didn’t do something to the house before the end of the year it will get demolished. The neighbors have been complaining about it being an aggravating sight when the swarms of tourists are assembled in the beach,” Arthur sighed. “The only solution is selling it.”
Mike scoffed, “do you think somebody will buy this property?”
Sometimes Mike’s sincerity infuriated Arthur, but he knew it meant no harm, that was the important thing.
“That’s the problem,” he sighed. His gaze drift around the room and met Brooke’s eyes, a fiery rage behind them. His heart was caught in his throat, she had been listening.
“I cannot believe you!” Brooke screamed throwing her arms above her head, “I knew you did not meant this trip to be only vacations, there has to be something else behind everything you do, something never concerning me! I can’t believe I accepted to come when I could be hiking with my friends right now, at least they do care for me!”
“Brooke, let me explain,” Arthur spoke with a weary, broken voice.
“No!” Brooke stormed out of the house, walking toward the back porch. She threw open the door and stepped outside. She didn’t stop, not even when her feet met the warm sand. Her father wouldn’t follow her; he won’t dare, not when she was boiling with anger.
Her eyes pricked with the formation of tears, she wiped them away, forcing herself to keep her impassive, cold stare. The light-color sand was a comfort to her feet, all around her she saw people enjoying of the day. She continued walking with her eyes set on the horizon, where the water touched the sky, trying to push any thoughts from her mind.
A walk on the beach was all she needed to clear her mind and change her perspective on life.