I remember I sat there for an hour, waiting. It was late December then, I was sitting in the grass near the beach, and although there was no snow, the wind brought waves of chicken skin up and down my arms, and all along my neck. Before long, she sat beside me and laid her head on my shoulder, and for once in a long while it felt like summer again.
          “How’s everything?” I asked her.
          “Alright,” She said. “Sorry I’m so late, I had to practically steal my mother’s car.”
          I shook my head. “No problem, wasn’t waiting very long.”
          “She’s been so ridiculous these past few days.”
          “She’s just worried.”
          “About what?”
          “Doesn’t want you to run away and get pregnant, I think.”
          She feigned a smile. “You wish.”
          I nodded, trying to ignore her legs stretched out in front of me.
          “Are you scared?” She asked.
          “Of what, y’know?”
          She laid back. “That you won’t come home.”
          “You can’t think like that.”
          “I know.”
          “Besides, not like I’m the only one.”
          “Not like you had a choice, right?”
          I took my eyes off her for a moment and looked out toward the sand, a bench that was once cemented there now leaned toward the water waiting to be swallowed.
          “God, this place has changed,” I said.
          She sat up and pulled her legs toward her chest. “Been a while, I guess.”
          I laughed. “You remember when we cut summer school, caught the bus out here? I bet that you couldn’t swim all the way out to Mokoli`i.”
          “I remember you almost drowning.”
          “But we made it, right?”
          I watched her eyes smile. “A couple times.”
          “You used to love it out there too, collecting glass, shells. You were selling ’em for awhile, right? Little necklaces, bracelets. Y’know you never made me one.”
          “Didn’t I?”
          I shook my head. “I don’t think I could do it again.”
          “You never know,” She said.
          I could see she was closer now, and I could feel strands of hair dancing across my arm when the wind blew. I thought of reaching over and lacing my fingers with hers, laying down in the grass and looking up at the sky, trying to decipher the clouds like we were children with nothing but time; like we had done so many years ago.
          “Justin says it’s never going to end, the war. Keeps talking about what it does for the economy, his political science prof. has all these figures from Vietnam.”
          I stood up and put my slippers on.
          She looked up at me; I glanced down at her and noticed her left hand in the dirt, a thin gold band sectioning off her flesh. “What’d you think?”
          “I’m sorry?”
          “About the war?”
          I shook my head. “I dunno, I guess.”
          “How does your father feel?”
          “Proud,” I told her. “But y’know how he is, retired Navy, ten years in Customs.”
          “Y’know you promised me you’d never join.”
          I shook my head, looked out at the bench, the ground below it eroding away. “What time’s your flight?”
          “Eight o’clock.”
          “Couple more years and you’ll be done.”
          “You too.”
          I nodded. “I gotta ask you something, is that alright?”
          “What is it?”
          “What’d you plan to do, after I mean?”
          “I dunno; Justin’s talking about traveling for a while. He wants to enjoy every minute he has. Paris, Rome, Christmas in Prague.”
          “And what’d you think?”
          She stood up and walked barefoot toward the shore. Standing there against the backdrop of that tiny island, the water an imaginary shade of blue, she looked as she did all those summers ago. “I think people waste too much time.”
          I walked up beside her, our hands a moment away. “I’m gonna come right back here, y’know? I don’t think I wanna be anywhere else.”
          “Promise?” She smiled and moved a strand of hair behind her ear and then looked at her watch. “Jesus, I haven’t even finished packing.”
          I tucked my hands in my pockets. “You should go.”
          She nodded and leaned toward me, kissed me on the cheek. “Take care of yourself, alright?”
          “You too.”
          She smiled and picked up her slippers, started to walk toward the parking lot. I kicked off mine and stepped down onto the sand, walked out to the bench and sat there, looking out at the water and listening to the waves lapping at my feet. After a while, I got up and made my way back across the grass, to my old beat-up Ford, with windows she complained could never roll up. I opened the door and got in, a glimmer of light catching my attention; on the dash she had left a small leather bracelet with a single piece of weather-worn glass, the winter sun caught in its reflection.

Talk story

  1. appleblossum says:

    This one made me sad a bit, but I love how much was implied in the stpry just with their dialogue. You inspire me… next month we try for a 100 word play, all dialogue. 😉

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