Pieced Together First Chapter

This place is beautiful. Bar Harbor, Maine. Who would have thought I’d end up way up here, so far north of Florida? I suppose it does make sense, really. I lost her in Florida. So it makes sense that I’d want to get away from there. But I’ve learned a lot in the past three years. I’ve learned that I can’t drown my demons in booze. I’ve learned that I have to face my past if I want to have any kind of future. Most of all, I’ve learned that I’ll never get over losing Brogan. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but hundreds of little disasters can’t compare to that one colossal fuckup.

I breathe in the salt air. It’s chilly. Colder than Florida, or Virginia, where I’ve spent some time building yachts while I tried to drink myself to death in order to forget the horrors of my time in Afghanistan and dull the emptiness in my heart, the place Brogan filled so completely, even if it was just for a short time. Maybe I can start over here, in this quiet place where no one knows me. The marina is busy enough, but not overwhelming, and the view goes on forever, just how I like it. Several smaller islands surround Bar Harbor. I’m enclosed by waves and rock cliffs. A lighthouse dominates my line of sight to the south. People stand on the docks, feeding seagulls and pointing out the picturesque houses and shops that dot the craggy shoreline.

As I watch the tourists and fishermen mingling on the docks, I catch a glimpse of a woman with long auburn hair. I instantly get hard. I can’t take my eyes off her. My body hasn’t reacted in this way since . . . well . . . . since Brogan. It has to be the hair. The color reminds me of her’s. Man, I’m losing it. It’s been way to long since I’ve had sex. “And you my friend,” I said, looking down at my crotch, “have a mind all of your own.”

I raise my eyes to find the red-haired woman, but she’s gone. Did I imagine her? Probably. I still long for Brogan after all these years. No one has caught my attention since I broke her heart into a million pieces. I can only assume she hates me. I look down at my crotch. I’m soft again, so it seems my body agrees with my mind.

Mrs. Moore, who keeps my boat spick and span, cooks for me, and generally looks after me, stocks the freezer with readymade meals she has prepared. She’s leaving tomorrow for a much needed sabbatical. I will miss her motherly companionship.

“Don’t forget to eat, Kyren. All you have to do is warm things up. You should have enough meals to last about a month.”

“You didn’t have to do all that work. I’m more than capable of cooking for myself.”

She stretches on her tippy toes, and gives me a gentle hug. “I know you are, but I worry about you like a son. I have no doubt you’ll get in a funk and go for days without eating. You’ve finally put some weight on and I don’t want to see you lose it again. You look better with meat on your bones.”

I know she is worried about me being lonely without her here, and she always has the fear that I will start drinking again. Honestly, if it wasn’t for Mrs. Moore, I might have died. I was drinking so much that I’d go black out for days. I lost twenty pounds. Horrible delirium tremors wracked my body whenever I tries to take a break. She finally called me out, harshly. She asked me point blank if I was trying to kill myself, and went so far as to tell me that if I wanted to commit suicide, there were faster and less painful ways to do so. It was the wake up call I needed. I haven’t had a drink in over six months. Sobriety allowed me to reconnect with old business associates, and here I was in Maine, about to build a new boat for an old friend. Life leads you to strange places when you let it.

“I know you worry,” I say, “but I am in a much better place thanks to you and Dr. Kohl. I know I gave you a lot of grief, but you saved me from myself.”

Mrs. Moore had enlisted the help of Dr. Kohl, Brogan’s old therapist from Florida, to get me over the hump and back on some kind of forward moving path. That man had been a godsend. He knew Brogan, and he understood the strength of our connection.

“Try to make a life for yourself while you are here,” says Mrs. Moore. “I know you miss her, but it’s time to move on. I think you’re ready for love again. You’re such a good man. You deserve to be happy.” She pats me my cheek.

I don’t have the heart to tell her that I don’t think I’ll ever be happy again. I blew my one chance at love. Obviously, I’m not very good at it.



The next morning, I meet Max, the friend who commissioned the new boat, at a nearby coffee shop. He shows me the blueprints he’s drawn up. I suggest a few changes and he enthusiastically agrees, before giving me some more information about Bar Harbor and the surrounding islands. I have learned that the island with the stunning cliffs, the one directly across from the marina, is Winter Harbor. Locals call the cliffs Schoodic Point. I can’t wait to explore the area. Its rugged beauty is growing on me every day.

I leave with Max’s blueprints, and I stop by the shipyard to check out the work bay where I’ll set up construction on the new boat. The supplies I ordered, lumber and tools and fiberglass, are all waiting for me in the warehouse space I rented. The set up is perfect, and I head back to the marina feeling confident about this new venture. It feels right.

As I walk back to my boat, I pass a slip where a man seems to be having trouble with his own craft. The engine compartment is open. He’s swearing like a sailor. I decide to be neighborly and see if I can lend a hand.

“Sounds like that motor is giving you a hard time. Can I help?”

He looks up at me. “You know a thing or two about motors?”

“I can find my way around them. I sweet talk them rather than swear at them.”

“Then I could use a hand, and maybe a few pretty words.” He sticks his greasy hand out and then wipes it on his jeans. “Uh, sorry, I’m Jake.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Kyren.”

“You’re not from around here. I know pretty much everyone, even the tourists. Most of them come back every year. Never seen you.”

“I’m here for the summer building a yacht for a friend.”

“Oh, you must be the guy Max has been bragging about. He and I go way back. You do great work from what I hear.”

“Thanks, man. So what’s going on with your motor?”

“It keeps stalling. I’ve been babying it for months. I’m afraid it just might be time to replace her.”

“Let me take a look before you sink your ship.”

Jake laughs, and four hours later his motor is overhauled, and purring like a kitten.

“You have the magic touch. Let me pay you for your time.” Jake starts to fish out his wallet.

“No, please, consider it my good deed. Maybe it will make up for some of my shittier days.”

“Well, let me pay you back in liquor. I own The Nautireel bar on Winter Harbor. I was just here getting supplies. Come have as many drinks and as much food on the house as you want.”

Now he has peeked my interest, not because I want to drink, but I want to check out the cliffs . “You have to take a boat to Winter Harbor, right?”

“Yup. No bridges. It’s pretty much boat everywhere around these islands.”

“Some people might find that inconvenient, but it sounds like heaven to me. I’ll definitely take you up on that this weekend, although I’m more about food and less about drinks these days.”

“Why’s that?”

“Let’s just say I’ve had my share of long nights and late mornings.”

He chuckles. “I get it. I’ll show you around. There’s not much to show, but what there is; it’s mighty pretty. The island itself is pretty small, but the cliffs on Winter Harbor are amazing and dangerous. We have had people swept away by waves when they’ve gotten too close to the edge of the cliffs.”

“That sounds pretty exciting, actually.” As I go to step off the boat onto the dock, the wake thrown up by a fishing boat hits Jake’s boat. It wobbles, and I lose my footing. To my surprise and annoyance, I can’t recover. As I hit the water, my right forearm connects with a broken sharp rivet on the side of the boat. It rips through my skin. Fortunately, the water is only waist deep so I didn’t go under, but blood runs down my arm.

“Shit!” yells Jake. He raises a fist at the fishing boat that caused the wake. “Damn, that’s why this is a no wake zone, asshole!”

I think my pride is hurt more than my arm. Jake helps me back into the boat. “Aw, man.” He holds my arm to get a better look. “You need some stitches.”

“I’m afraid you’re right, but the sun is about to set. Sure there’s nothing open. If there are any medical facilities around here, anyway! I’ll just clean it and bandage it myself.”

Jake shakes his head. “We have a local nurse practitioner. She’ll stitch you up and you’ll never even have a scar. She stitches up all the local fisherman. She’s on Winter Harbor. I’ll call and give her a heads up. I can drop you off and then bring you back over here.”

“You don’t have to go to all that trouble. It’s getting dark.”

“You just spent hours helping me out. It’s the least I can do. I can navigate these waters in my sleep. Besides, our nurse practioner is beautiful.” He grins from ear to ear .

“Okay, you’ve convinced me. I’ll always choose a beautiful woman over me stitching myself up.”



We take off in Jake’s boat across the harbor. I hear him talking to her on the phone.

“Hey honey . . . I know, I know you don’t like to be called that. I’m bringing you a new friend of mine that got injured helping me out. He sliced open his arm on my boat. It’s pretty nasty looking and probably needs to be stitched.”

He sounds very friendly and comfortable with her. It must be his girlfriend. I smile. Brogan didn’t like terms of endearment either. At least, she didn’t when I first met her. I changed that. I get lost in the thought of her, until Jake pulls up to a dock and points me in the direction of a big yellow house.

“She’s waiting for you, just go inside. Have her call me when she’s done. I need to unload my cold supplies.” He backs the boat away from the dock and motors away before I can respond.

I’ve stopped the bleeding, but there is blood all over my clothes. I walk up to the house and open the squeaky screen door. The gentleman in me can’t just barge in. I close it again and knock, but I hear someone yell, “just come in!”

I walk in but don’t see anyone.

“I’ll be with you in a minute,” calls a female voice.

I choose to stand, rather than sit and risk getting blood on anything. I admire the view out the window. The house looks out over the harbor. A fishing boat, and what looks like a postal service boat, sit on the end of the long dock that leads to the tiny business district. There’s a ramshackle boathouse in the middle of the dock. If I lived here, I think that’s where I would spend my mornings, watching the sunrise. I use to enjoy watching the sunrise at Brogan’s place in Redington Beach, back in Florida. Why does every memory bring me back to her?

In a few moments I hear footsteps behind me. I turn back around for introductions and my heart stops.

It’s her. It’s Brogan. Am I imagining her? I try to move, but my feet are not having it. They refuse to budge. My mind refuses to believe she’s real, until she squares her shoulders and squints those lavender eyes. I know that stance.