This is a completely new kind of post for me, but today I'm sharing a short story that I wrote. It's included in the latest edition of my school's literary magazine, and it's dear to my heart. I hope you enjoy!
The waves always repeated; they always came back to reach for her toes. Throughout the entire day the waves hadn’t paused their repetitive motion for even one second. By now, her feet had sunk into the sand, and the waves brushed new layers of it and broken shells over her feet with each ceaseless cycle of the foamy, white tendrils reaching for the shore before retreating back to the safety of the Pacific. It would always clean off the top of her feet for a brief moment, but then it washed more back on her.
She had been standing, overlooking the water, for almost the entirety of this day christened “the most beautiful day of the year” by the town’s weatherman that morning. You don’t ever picture your first heartbreak, but if you did, then it would most definitely not be on a day where the sky declares its vastness by removing all clouds and the weather warms your skin without the intensity of making your clothes stick. You may picture grey skies and thunderclouds on the day your heart breaks, but not “the most beautiful day of the year.”
She hadn’t been expecting it, of course. All she could do was stare now, fixated on the ocean’s repeating waves, struggling to decipher what had been genuine about their time together. The body of water seemed to be a fresh tint that desired to be turquoise but was forced to be much more clear.
They hadn’t been together for long, but their lives had been consumed by each other since the April day a mutual friend introduced them. Due to her mother’s tendencies to let sad records blare in the house and engage in broken, toxic relationships, she had allowed her heart to grow heavily guarded. Maybe, probably definitely, he wasn’t the solution she needed, but the timing was right. He appeared right when she was ready to be vulnerable.
Everything he was embodied a calmness her soul thirsted for; her life had always been an unpredictable cycle of chaos, and he was something solid to cling to. He spoke with gentle kindness and careful attention.
She first believed she loved him the Sunday they met for breakfast at a coffee shop and stayed the whole day discussing favorite bands, plans to escape their small California town, and the dogs they had owned. Whenever he grabbed her hand and she would tilt her head up to his magnetic green eyes. Him playing his favorite song and her closing her eyes as they drove down the highway. So many moments building to this conviction.
She even loved him while she watched him smoke, a habit she had previously detested; her father had smoked, and many of their armchairs served as reminders of when he was too lazy to use an ashtray. They would sit in his car, and she would watch him exhale the ribbon of cigarette smoke, tainting the clean coastal air. This simple ritual caused her heart to beat faster. He was so calm and careful about it, qualities she had never seen as synonymous with the habit before.
He hadn’t loved her for one minute, though he may have thought he did. He had loved the way she looked at him when he spoke about his passions, and he had loved the poems she would sometimes leave neatly folded in the passenger seat. He was used to admiration and got caught up in any new form of it. But he hadn’t loved her, and now her heart was shattered on “the most beautiful day of the year.”
People aren’t like the ocean, she considered. They don’t have an obligation to clean you or return to you. By now the sky had shifted from the pure blue it had been all day to a rosy pink to a magnificent blend of blue and purple, reflecting into the water and destroying the consistency her day had revolved around. She turned and made her way through the sand.