Strawberry Wine

Derek finished tying up the boat to the dock and grabbed the rest of his belongings before following his father up the path to the fishing market. The setting sun left a coolness in the air and magnificent colors in the sky. He stopped and looked up at the resort and rolled his eyes at all the people lounging around the pool for the first night's party.

That's how the season always began. The regulars made their way to the pool or the cocktail party almost immediately, allowing the newer people to join later and soon be mixed in with everyone else. It was the same thing every year.

He found it slightly sickening that all of those adults and children had absolutely no responsibility for two weeks or longer while they stayed. He had to work non-stop, regardless of whether he was in school or not. He had more responsibility than most people his age.

As his eyes traveled around the resort's property, he looked back down at the docks and saw a girl leaning against the small pier. Her body was slim and she was dressed in a pair of jeans and an old tee shirt. Derek knew she wasn't a local, but she didn't look like she belonged to the resort either.

Her hair was flying against the wind as she looked out onto the ocean. There was a small notebook in her hand and she was holding it close to her body. Even from afar, Derek could tell that she was thinking about something, almost searching for something. He didn't think he'd seen anyone with half a brain come into that resort for years.

"Derek! Come on, we're already late. Your mother is going to throw a fit!" an older man hollered from the doors of the fishing market.

Derek snapped himself back into reality and hurried up the slight hill to the fishing market. His father and him placed all of their fishing gear in the back of their old blue beat-up truck.

They got in the car and Derek looked over at his father as they slowly made their way home. His father was getting old, but he was a very kind man. His hair had long since gone from salt and pepper to snow white. His body appeared weak, but Derek knew his father was stronger than most men on the island. He shared his father's eyes, which was probably the only thing that could be deceiving of his age. The blueness of his eyes resembled the sea surrounding them and changed just as the weather did from a cool, soft blue to a deep, dark storm.

His father had been born and raised on this island, inhabiting the same house his entire life. His life was respectable and he was proud of it, but it was simple. He was a fisherman. The resort depended on him and his buddies to be able to feed not only the island's yearly residents, but also the people who came solely for vacations.

He was the kind of guy that everyone waved to when they drove down the street. The kind of guy that everyone loved. Derek was proud to say that Andrew Shepherd was his father, but that didn't stop him from dreaming of a better life. He loved to fish just as much as his father did. He'd been doing it his entire life and he didn't think he would be able to go a week without stepping onto that boat and floating with the sea breeze. Despite this love, he'd held a desire for more his entire life.

He wanted to get off this island and explore the rest of the world. He wanted to do what no one in his family had done and go to college. He wanted to make something of himself, something much bigger than the island fisherman.

The old truck bumped up and down as they turned onto the old gravel driveway. His father turned off the engine, allowing the car to emit the noise that reminded them the truck's real age.

Derek opened the door and looked up at his home. The house had once been the best in the town, but that was a before Derek's time and every year it became just a little bit more rundown. Derek did his best to fix it up for his mother and sisters, but there was only so much he could do.

The steps creaked as he made his way up to the porch and the front door let out a high-pitched scream whenever opened. The sounds were almost comforting to him after a long day on the ocean. They meant a nice shower, a good meal, and sleep. They meant home.