“It was the fog,” Papa said. “It came all the sudden. It was you and me, Andre. You loved to go with me. I was teaching you about the sea, the boat, the fish. The haul scraped on some rocks. We were taking on water. I launched the skiff and lifted you aboard. I went back to the radio to signal a mayday. I slipped and hit my head. When I woke you and the skiff were gone, washed out by the tide hidden by the fog. The boat rested on the rocks. That was the last I saw or you. We searched for a week. Do you remember what happened or were you too little to remember?”
“There is something I must tell you about myself, Papa,” Andre said. “I trained myself to shield the past by forgetting. Some terrible things have happened to me over the years. I remember being rescued. I think it was another fisherman. We went some place. I don’t know where, but I remember traveling a long distance by car. I have come to know recently that ride ended in California. It was there that the people who raised me told me over and over again to forget everything that was painful to think about.”
“How did you find your way back to us?” Papa said.
Andre related the details of the last year of his life.
“It was a good thing I made the medallion for you,” Papa said. “I made them for all our children.”
“It was a good thing, Papa,” Andre said. “I have some memory of you and Mama, but I don’t remember your faces and the way you looked. I remember Mama singing; a good gentle voice.”
Mama chuckled. “The years have played tricks on you; my voice was never good. I could not carry a tune.”
“Bilge,” Rene said. “Mama, you have a beautiful voice.”
“Yes, she does,” Papa said.
“Mama, Papa,” Rene looked at his watch. “Everybody will be coming shortly. Only me, Claude, Berta, and Danni have met Andre; everybody else will be here shortly.”
“Oh my,” Mama said, “we will have such a wonderful time. Andre, Rene, help Papa and I prepare refreshments for everyone.”
“Mama,” Papa said. “Rene can go the grocery and buy some things while we spend some time with Andre; how would that be Rene?”
“Sure,” Rene said. “Get to know your son.”
Rene drove Papa’s truck to the grocery. Andre, Papa, and Mama arranged the kitchen for visitors. Rene returned from the grocery. Slowly family began to file in. Andre met them all. After eating the family settled in on chairs, couches, and the floor as Andre told them about hit life.
After he told them his story each Claude, Danni, and Berta told Andre about themselves and families.
Outside the sun sat over Back Cove. It was a night no one wanted to end.
“This is the best night my life,” Papa said.
“This is the best night of all of our lives,” Rene said.
Amid the agreement and good cheer a knock was heard at the door.
“Who could that be?” Claude said.
“I’ll get the door,” Berta said and moved quickly. There was another knock. Berta opened the door. “May I help you?”