He’d planned on arriving early in the morning so he’d get a good spot. But Life interrupted — and by the time he arrived, the beach was almost packed. Carrying a towel, a blanket, an antique transistor radio, and a small cooler, he picked his way past the screaming kids and their obnoxious parents to find a small open spot halfway between the water and the concession stand. Not bad, he decided, as he put down his blanket. He’d only been there a few moments when he looked up to see a young lady in sunglasses that did little to mask her annoyance.
“You’re in my spot.”
“No, I”m not,” he grinned.
“You are so. I saw that spot ten minutes ago.”
“We could share it, you know.”
She gave an audible sigh. “Fine. If we have to.”
And that was how he met her, this strange girl who came to the beach but didn’t want to go in the water, who knew she was getting sunburned but brought no umbrella, who wore sunglasses like armor and a bikini like a flag of the deepest, most vivid red. When he told her his name, he knew — somehow — that the one she shared in return was a lie… but somehow that just made her all the more interesting. It wasn’t that she was pretty (which, he had to admit, she was, in an un-pretty sort of way) or that she was mysterious — he’d had enough mystery from women in his life… but that she was there, on the beach, sharing his blanket on the warm sand, toying with the signal on his radio. He bought her a hot dog. She bought him a soda. And yet every time he thought the walls between them were starting to come down, she’d enigmatically lay another row of bricks with little more than a look or a sigh.
Why am I sitting here? he asked himself. Under the now relentless heat, the beach was emptying out. There were plenty of better places for him to park.And every time he decided to move, she would say something utterly meaningless and yet totally captivating, and he found himself almost happily resigned to stay by her.
Of course it didn’t make sense. She certainly didn’t. He was almost shocked when she suddenly decided to go for a swim. “I thought you hated the water.”
“I do. But it’s here, so I might as well. Right?” She took off her sunglasses, gave him a smile, and ran into the waves. And somehow he knew he was not to follow her. He was to stay right there — and wait. He picked up her sunglasses: large, ugly things that looked like a passing attempt at retro design… and on a whim, put them on.
Suddenly the world was… dark. The blue sky was now almost black; the sun a mere spot of thin, cold light. The people around him were pale, grey shades, and the ocean, once a joyous blue, was now a frigid white. He saw her, dancing in the icy waves. Then she saw him wearing her sunglasses, and she laughed.
It was not a laugh he would ever want to hear again.
He tore them off and threw them on the blanket, just as she, still smiling, dropped next to him and put the glasses on. “Aren’t you going to get in the water?”
Suddenly afraid — and not knowing why — he shook his head.
“Well, you should. It feels… wonderful.” Then she stood and walked away, disappearing into the dune grasses.
“Did she come back?”
“Of course.” Heather nodded. “She had to.”
to be continued
New titles released! New volumes in the “Doc and Raider” collection: RELENTLESSLY CANADIAN, SOMEWHAT CANADIAN, and WILDLY CANADIAN, as well as NO ONE EVER SAID THEY WERE ESPECIALLY BRIGHT (something no theatre queen’s library should be without!)… all perfect for summer readind! Check them all out by clicking here! And coming soon: TASTEFULLY CANADIAN, a cookbook every chef should have (Really, you should…), and a collection of non-story-specific images from the DnR archive: ARTFULLY CANADIAN. Watch for details!