Escape To Sunset - Sharon Hamilton Page 0,1

gut began to flutter. He took in a deep breath and released the metal canister top, allowing the salty air of the Florida Gulf to mate with the ashes of his buddy just before he heard the kahuna chant the story of how he would travel to the place of eternal sunshine and love. That was Jason’s Christian grandmother’s doing. She told him it was a place of eternal sunshine and love because her God was the God of Love.

That was good enough for Jason too.

He raised the urn as a sacrifice to the God of the Sun, reached back, then tossed the grey contents into the ocean. Thomas’ cloud of bones and flesh hung in the sky, arched and then dissipated into the air before dropping into the bay.

“Safe travels, Thomas,” he mumbled. “I look forward to the fishing, the laughter, and yes, the beautiful women with big breasts that will suckle us both and feed us roast pig!”

He laughed. The villagers in Nigeria where Thomas had been killed would be horrified with the knowledge they’d feast on pig.

All the more reason to do so, Thomas, my friend. My one true friend. My brother. Life was unkind to you, but I promise to make up for it.

He wanted to send him off with laughter because his grandmother had taught Jason that death was a celebration.

Now that you’re gone, I can sing the truth. It’s no fuckin’ celebration. It’s the end of one thing and the beginning of another. I am so sorry we did not do the Haka for you. Make them show you in Heaven. And think of me down below.

The waters completely absorbed the particles.

“I will miss you Haole boy. Now you won’t have to wear so much fuckin’ bugspray and sunscreen. And the angels in Heaven don’t wear panties, I’m told, so pick the prettiest and have at it, please, for me.”

Jason put the lid on the metal container, brushed off the ash clinging to it, then set it back out of reach of the surf. He washed his hands in the water, drying them on his khakis. He didn’t have to examine the beach to know there were eyes on him that might not have approved of him dumping Thomas into their bay.

So be it.

He didn’t want to spoil the serenity of the moment, so he saved the urn without tossing it too, because that would make the tongues wag and might bring the authorities. He held the container to his chest and watched as the sun melted into the horizon. The orange turned into dark purple then grey. The wind kicked up. A few gulls flew past, and a pelican dove into the water right near where part of Thomas had landed. It caught a fish.

“Okay, so maybe you won’t be a mighty fish. Maybe you’ll be a pelican. Or a baby pelican when she brings this to her nest.”

That gave him the second smile of the day.

The old kahuna his father, now dead some twenty years, used to consult, cackled in the distance. Jason could see the old man dance around the room like a bird, making fun of the brave warrior who had died so others could live.

It didn’t matter that the whole world didn’t know about Thomas’ sacrifice. He did. So did the rest of the team on SEAL Team 3.

Jason’s heart clinched, squeezing one bloody tear as if it made a fist.

It’s delicious to miss someone, he thought. It enhances the feeling of being alive.

Whether it was the pain of loss or the joy of celebration and communion, the tug, that dull ache in his heart felt exactly the same. If he were a zombie, he used to watch in those old horror films when he was a boy, he would have no heart, no expression, and would feel no pain. But because his pain was big, his heart was big. And that made him happy.

Jason scanned both directions, the orange remnants creeping back out to the dark blue water. He knew why Thomas had enjoyed this beach of his boyhood. He could see him frolic in the waves as a young man, throwing shells, playing with other boys, making sandcastles, like Jason liked to do.

But this wasn’t Hawaii. This was the land of Thomas’ ancestors. These men and women were perhaps like ones who had invaded the islands, altered the local Polynesian population culture forever, and mated with women, leaving mixed raced keikis behind. In Jason’s land, it didn’t