She had kept the blue pebble with her for as long as she could remember. It hung around her neck, a shining blue on a coarse black thread, nestling softly into the hollow that formed at the base of her neck. The stone was an object of beauty – it was the colour of summer skies and sun kissed seas and it lay there, unpretentious against the smooth brown of her skin. It shone with a polished intensity – the kind of colour and gleam that only time could impart.
She leaned into the breeze, letting the drafts play with her hair, breathing deep and letting the tang of the salt in the air settle on her tongue. She could hear the waves breaking on the shore, and she was sure if she just opened her eyes she could see the moonlight reflecting off the water, but she didn’t. She shifted a little bit; the threads of the wicker chair were biting into her. She frowned as the breeze stopped and leaned back against her cushion, with her eyes still closed. She’d settled for the time being. The night grew still around her and the silences grew louder still.
She grew drowsy, the breeze and the heat lulling her into a trance – a half way place between sleep and waking. Her hand drifted to her pendant unconsciously and she began to fiddle, worrying the knot that held the stone.
Her thoughts strayed to him like they usually did. And she could see him like she’d seen him that night, from the night her life had changed.
She’d met him on the beach. She’d been sitting at the water’s edge, letting the waves crash over her toes, and watching the moonlight glint over the swirls of the water like she liked to. And then he’d shown up. Out of the blue. Literally.
He’d made himself rather comfortable beside her, wordlessly burrowing into the sand near her and settling himself down. At length he let out a long sigh and then turned and looked at her, still not breaking the silence that had enveloped them comfortably. She’d been the one to smile, and he had reciprocated, breaking into a beam.
That smile had broken her guard, had helped her relax, and she could still remember it – the wrinkles of his nutty brown skin, the smooth contours of his mouth against the alluring contrast of his slightly crooked teeth. She shifted in her chair and smiled.
They had spent that night together, sitting in the sand and talking, about things that mattered and things that didn’t. He knew that her favourite sundae was three scooped – one strawberry scoop, one mint chocolate chip scoop and one French vanilla scoop, all covered in chocolate sauce. She knew that the small scar on his back was from playing ‘Cops and Robbers’ as a ten year old and getting caught under fencing that had torn his shirt clean off of him. She knew that he was terrified of dying alone and unloved. He knew she was petrified of being alone and unloved. She knew he wasn’t ticklish, he knew she hated purple but found mauve perfectly splendid -the distinction escaped him. They both knew that this was something special. And so they had gone on, telling each other everything, keeping back nothing, baring bit by precious bit of themselves to each other. And when the sun rose from the distant horizon, casting its fierce burning glow over the sparkling blue of the water, they sat in silence, knowing that they had said all that there was to be said.
They got up little by little, stretching and working out the kinks of spending the night sitting curled up in the sand. He put out his hand and she slipped hers into it with the familiarity of time. They walked away from the water’s edge. The little dunes of sand that formed around them overnight began to shift and move with the water, some vanishing completely.
They had walked quite a distance when the blue had caught his eye, winking merrily at him from under some sand. He had bent over and found this, a stone, so blue it had startled them both. They stared at it for a while, the blue of it cupped so perfectly in his palm, and then he’d given it to her, hers to keep as she liked. They’d walked on and had parted soon after, with promises of meeting again before long.
And she had kept it. The cerulean blue stone and her memories of him – all she carried from that night. And the pain of never seeing him again.
She shifted in her chair again. The beach had never seemed the same after that, she mused. Then again, neither had she. The breeze died down, she sighed and shifted once more. In the distance, she heard a few waves break, and she slowly dozed off – a dreamless, man-less beach-less sleep.