This one Sunday when I was real little and my dad was still around, him and my mom brought me down to Cannon Beach. My dad had been in the mountains working for a logging company that past spring, and he was making ok money, but he was always gone; that day was the first time in forever we were all together. We’d brought my grandpa along, and I think he liked that. He was living with us then, and he was in a wheelchair. He couldn’t really talk much anymore since the stroke. He was just dying a little more every day, and it was all weighing pretty heavy on my mom.
My dad spread a blanket out in the sand. My mom had made this horrible lunch, but we all ate it and no one complained. My dad took her hand, and they rolled up their jeans and walked out into the ocean. I buried my grandpa’s feet in the sand and ran up and down the beach, scaring all the seabirds.
I wandered out near Haystack Rock. Washed up on the shore was a sea lion. She was just lying there and I knew she was dead. I was sure of it. I felt something inside me sinking. I called for my parents.
My dad came over and knelt down beside the lion, and I'd never seen him look so sad. He ran his hands across its back. Then he jumped back, startled, and I screamed a little. The lion started twisting in the sand. My dad stood up and took my hand. The lion was suddenly alive again, and my father and I watched as it made its way across the shore.
For a long time after that I really thought my father was god.
Jordan Sullivan is a writer and photographer living in Los Angeles, California. His photographs and fiction have appeared in publications such as Dazed Digital, Dossier Journal, Twin Magazine, VICE, Third Coast, GUP, Art + Design (China), Secret Behavior, and ELLE. He was a finalist for the Third Coast Fiction Award and the Grand Prix de la Découverte/NoFound Prize for experimental photography. His work has been exhibited in solo and two-person exhibitions in Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, and Houston. His most recent book, The Young Earth, published by Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art, is an illustrated novella, combining photographs and prose. His piece is an excerpt from a novel in progress of the same title. Find him online at www.jordan-sullivan.com.