Fiction, Story-telling, Writing, Writing Prompts

The Memorable Holiday

Paul’s pudgy, alcohol-fed body carelessly lay splayed out on the lone deckchair. He lazily tossed yet another empty beer bottle at the rapidly mounting pile on his right. It landed on it with a noisy clink and slid down on the hot sand. The beach was filled with its usual cacophony; teenage girls in skimpy swimwear playing volleyball and cackling away, Hawaiian music playing in his beach shack nearby, a toddler bawling when the waves swallowed its sand castle, and so on. Oblivious to all this, Paul’s eyes were set on the figure playing in the ocean, a mere speck from where he lay. She wanted a memorable holiday, right? He was going to give her one.

In his 39 years of existence Paul had done every crime in the book; robbery, extortion, kidnapping, murder, what say you. His checkered past had earned him several years in prison and a bunch of blood-thirsty enemies. Raised in the tough neighbourhood of Queens borough, he had learned to match aggression with violence early on. Gang wars had claimed the lives of his parents and elder brother when he was merely ten years old. The cat-and-mouse game between him and the world had begun then and was still on. He moved every few months, hiding and assuming a new name and occupation to keep away.

Lanikai Beach in Honolulu was his home for now. He had rented a rundown beach shack for fun and surprisingly turned it around. His shack served authentic local cuisine and cheap booze for people looking for an exotic holiday experience. Respite from the sun during the day and a bustling party place with sparkling lights at night, it had soon become a tourists’ favourite. People thronged there, took pictures, and brought a smile to Paul’s often expressionless face.

The Memorable Holiday_avibrantpalette

Elena had arrived on the beach with her parents on an otherwise regular day in a tourist bus. Her bright smile and lovely olive complexion were in complete contrast to Paul’s tanned skin and beaten demeanour. While her parents and other tourists settled down for a drink in the shack, she happily mingled with him and his staff attacking them with a barrage of questions. She was eight years old and very bright. The tiny seashell bracelet in her left hand made a musical tinkling sound every time she moved. Is she a happy child or just happy to be on holiday, Paul wondered.

The sun moved westward and everyone collected near the bus when the driver blew the horn to leave, as promised. Some were brushing off sand from their hair and clothes, some were scanning their cameras for the best pictures while others were already discussing the next spot. Paul glanced at the leaving bus from his shack and felt an unidentifiable pang of regret. What was it? He sluggishly went for a stroll on the far side of the beach before the night crowd arrived and broke its serenity. Detecting a movement in a deserted area he moved closer to find Elena running to and fro from the beach to the water, apparently making a sand castle.

Stricken by panic, Paul mindlessly sprinted towards her. What was she doing there all alone? Had her parents not ensured that she was on the bus when it left? What kind of irresponsible idiots were they, taking off like that? Do they call this a family holiday? The questions in his mind only flared his anger further. Once near her though, he took a deep breath, forced a smile, and asked her where her parents were. She looked around and seemed to register the quiet for the first time. Tears filled her eyes as she suddenly spotted her bus missing from where it was parked. “Have they left without me?” was all she could say.

For a moment Paul wished to do nothing and have this beautiful angel to himself. Could this be his chance at a family? Her presence had warmed his heart and given him hope he never knew existed. She could be his daughter! Thankfully, sanity prevailed. He wanted to get the cops involved but that could open a can of worms. Instead, he got in touch with the bus company and informed them about Elena’s situation. They found her worried parents soon enough but they could take an hour to get there. Elena danced with joy when he told her about the development. He suggested that she play on the beach in front of the shack till then where he could keep a watch at her. She happily agreed.

Looking at her from the deckchair now, Paul couldn’t help smiling to himself for his silly digression. He rose clumsily and walked towards her. He saw people come and go every day. Holiday goers, regular beach lovers, photographers, college kids, and so many more. Elena was something else though. She had shown him what happiness was, just with that beautiful smile of hers. Maybe a few years from now she would look back at this day and remember him fondly too. He could live with that.

This post was created for the Blogaberry Creative (Monthly) Challenge.

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’
hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla
in collaboration with Zariya Healings.

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27 thoughts on “The Memorable Holiday

  1. Tears rolled down while reading this emotional story…. I can feel the spark of happiness in Paul when he thought if Elena could be his daughter and if that’s a chance for him to have a family. But destiny always had a different story ….. so nicely you penned a simple yet emotional holiday story… Loved it

  2. Such a heart touching story who wouldn’t wish after a miserable life adventure to have settled with a family just calming ones mind. Beautifully moulded moments in your story.

  3. I always love to read your story, Varsha. This is such a sweet story of love and life. A hard-core criminal even could be a perfect dad, all he needs is love. May love bring in the human out of everyone.

  4. Aww this was so so sweet and touchy. Your choice of words and the the simplicity that you have kept throughout the story is amazing. I could clearly visualize the entire scene.

  5. It is the first time I read a fictional story penned by you and I must compliment you on how the first paragraph itself painted a vibrant picture of Paul going about his business on a busy beach. It just came alive for me and that is your strength. Further the happy ending gave a fuzzy warm feeling.

  6. What a beautiful holiday! Paul melted and Elena found a saviour, both show different aspects of human ;life. And we all have good and bad sides, it really depends on who brings those out.

  7. A very heartwarming story. Everyone deserves a second chance. Paul may have been a criminal but he had a heart of gold.

  8. Initially, I doubted Paul’s intentions when he saw Elena left alone by the beach, given his dark past, but you gave it such a lovely twist that it warmed my heart, Varsha.

  9. Your storytelling skills are captivating, painting a vivid picture of Paul’s life and the unexpected encounter with Elena. The contrast between their backgrounds and the potential for a heartfelt connection is beautifully portrayed. The emotions and inner conflicts experienced by Paul are relatable and add depth to the narrative. Well done!

  10. What a beautiful story with great narrating style that hooked me till the end! Your story has clearly shown that each one longs for a happy and peaceful family life. Hope Paul soon finds his happiness.

  11. Wow, loved reading this heartwarming story. From being someone with a troubled past to being someone who wants to have a purpose, the story of Paul and Elena shows the power of genuine connections and how they can bring out the best in people and show them the true meaning of happiness.

  12. Ahh this brought tears to me. I really love the word play and flow of the tale here varsha. Paul and Elena showed what a connection can be capable of

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