Storm Flag Flying

Red. Don’t go in the water. Danger. Sharks. Jellyfish. Riptides. Storms. Waves. No lifeguard. Red flag, stay away.

Samuel knew the rules, and he decided to ignore them. For the first and last time in his life, he wanted to control himself. He’d been born in water, and now he wished to die in it.

Birthing pools had been popular when his mother was pregnant. Always one for the unusual, she embraced the trend with only a midwife’s assistance. It was an unpleasant experience for her, a long and painful labor, for which she blamed the midwife. Her following three children were born on solid land. So Samuel, fittingly a Pisces, was always her “little water baby”.

He’d run with that most of his life. He was the most laid-back of the siblings, a quiet teenager, and a gentle man after college. He “went with the flow” gracefully and nearly never lost his temper nor let things get under his skin.

In fact, he was often too gentle and laid back. His opinions were often formed for him, bored into him like water eats holes in a rock. Samuel rarely thought for himself. His environment tempered him—he failed to master it.

So he made up his mind, firmly and completely, for once. His reasons were typical, money, job, girls. No overwhelming reasons, but reasons, and they were his.

So he waded out to the deserted sandbar, wind and salt stinging his face. Then, covered in gooseflesh, he took a deep breath and plunged out further into the storm, where there was no place to rest again.

In his final moments, Samuel was tossed around to face the shoreline. The last thing he saw as the thrashing waves lovingly embraced him was the storm flag flying.