On the Shoreline
– A snapshot from a longer story (fiction)
That summer morning at the shoreline was magical. Everything was as perfect as it gets for a short, blissful moment. The slow waves rolling in hardly made a sound — as if the great lake didn’t want to disturb us this early. No wind and no birds could be heard either. It was a peaceful contrast to what happened last night. A brief respite perhaps. Because it was not quite over yet.
We wore no shoes and on our way down to the lake we felt the dew in the grass moisten our feet while we ran. Then, when we reached the small stretch that we had cleared from stones and called beach, the sand stuck to our skin and for a moment it looked as if we wore golden brown socks.
Sophia started to laugh and pointed at my feet. I laughed too, because seeing her laugh eased my pain a bit. If she could laugh maybe all wasn’t lost after all. She gave me hope with that sudden burst. That was the most wonderful feeling I’ve ever had. Hope from nothing. What a wonder! Then the moment passed and our smiles faded fast when we continued our fast trek along the shore.
As soon as we had crossed the patch of sand the sharp stones began to hurt our feet. I regretted leaving without shoes. But there had been no time. We had left in a bit of a hurry without knowing exactly where we were going. I took her hand to help keep her balance as the stones became rocks and boulders. But only a few meters later she scraped her foot on a sharp edge and her tears told me she could not continue at this pace any longer.
Without shoes we were trapped. There was no way out of this. We both knew it, and we knew it even before we ran. We didn’t run to get away. We ran to get a last moment together. I realized that the moment had already passed when we laughed in the sand. That was it. That was all we got. That was the precious moment I would cherish hereafter. That was the magical moment we had made that final run for. For that moment on the shoreline.
Helplessly I saw her sit down, resigned, with her blood and tears flowing.
“John, we’re fucked”, she exclaimed. “Really fucked this time.”
(Part of a longer story that may be written & published in the future.)