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Leap of Faith
Strange, isn’t it? How everything you know can change in a split second? I know. It’s what happened to me. Miraculous, really. It saved me. It saved me in every way a person can be saved. Because, you see, I was once lost. Lost in… well, life itself as a whole. Doesn’t everyone experience that feeling at one point in life? It’s kind of like a checkpoint. Like a crossroads. I was just a teenage girl, just a simply confusing, erratic, insecure teenage girl. I was in desperate search of myself. A search so desperate…
It all started in the summer of 2008. The summer when everything I knew ceased to exist. When everything was in the process of changing, the summer where I was slapped in the face with the harsh reality of growing up. My friends were trying new things, and I’m not talking about jumping off the bluffs. Me? Well, I was a little skeptical. Scared, even. Maybe not skeptical, or even scared. More or less, left behind.
But then. Then, my miracle came along.
Toes in the sand. Wind in my hair. Eyes closed. The smell of the beach. It’s evenings like this that make me believe I’ve got something to be, something to believe in. Lapping waves. Rush of the water. The last swimmers of the day leaving the beach. Alone. It’s what I like best these days. But something today is different. I can feel a presence of someone in the vicinity. Not only can I feel his presence, I can see him now. He’s beautiful. Something I wish I could be. Graceful, almost. Another thing I wish I could be. But I, unfortunately did not inherit the whole beautiful gene, nor the graceful one. I received the plain, klutzy gene. Lucky me.
He’s coming over here. Is it to ridicule me? If so, I’m used to it. I know how it is. People don’t really like me anymore. Maybe it’s because I’m such a space case. Or, maybe it’s because I’m such a baby, unwilling to try something new or risk my life. How unfortunate. He’s getting closer. I’m not scared like I am with the others. He doesn’t make me feel afraid like they do. But, why do I not recognize his face?
He speaks. He’s got a beautiful voice, too. I wonder if I should reply.
“Hello.” I manage. I’m gutless.
He invites himself to sit down on the beach beside me. “Why are you here by yourself?” He asks.
“Soul searching? I don’t know.” I reply calmly.
His eyes powerfully search mine. His eyes are green. I’m a sucker for green eyes. They’re captivating. It’s like he’s seen things, amazing things; and I’ll tell you the truth, I’m dying to know. But they do not let me in. Am I dreaming? Why does this suddenly seem so surreal?
He smiles. It’s a beautiful smile. He’s blessed to be so beautiful.
“I know.” I reply.
I wonder if asking who he was would be rude. Should I wait for him to speak?
“Who are you?” I ask cautiously. This could be dangerous. Is this a set up? Are they trying to torment me? I hope not. But I’m skeptical. And scared. But I would never admit it.
He laughs. It’s charming. It’s a great laugh. I wish I could laugh like that. It’s like music to my ears.
“Justin. I just moved in here. I was checking out the beach and maybe doing a little soul searching myself.” He speaks. He’s funny, too. He’s got everything. He’s everything I wish I could be. Why is he wasting his time on me?
I try to smile. Key word, try. I feel as if I haven’t in a while. It feels pleasant, it feels like happiness, but very mild happiness. A flicker of happiness, for a spilt second. And only for a spilt second.
“Why are you talking to me?”
It’s blunt. Maybe it’s rude. But no one ever gets anywhere being polite. I’ve learned that anyone with perfect manners are just fake. And of all the things I don’t want to be, being a fake is the one thing that scares me the most.
Justin looks into my eyes. I feel a connection. A connection? Does he feel the connection? Or is it just my mind again?
“Because. You were here alone. I was here alone. Why should we be alone when we can be together? Besides, I need to make a friend somehow. What’s your name?”
A friend. I’m probably not the kind of friend he wants. I’m scared to tell him my name. I’m scared to let him know me. I don’t even know who he is…
“Elise. Where did you come from?” I ask.
He tips his head to the sky. I wonder what he’s thinking about. I wish I knew. He’s so intriguing. “New York.”
He’s a city boy.
“So you’re a city boy.” I spoke of what was on my mind. Strange. It’s not what I’m used to. I’m used to biting my tongue and keeping my thoughts locked deep inside my head where no one can find them, like a locked diary, except there’s more security.
“I guess you could call it that. I hate the city. I never was one for the city. Now that I’ve got all this right out my back yard, it’s amazing. Refreshing. Very different from the city.” He replies. He sounds so sincere. It’s been so long since I heard sincere words being spoken to me.
“So we’re neighbors. This is right out my backyard, too. God, it’s beautiful. I can’t imagine not having access to this.” There I go again, making conversation. I miss this. I refrain from it. It never does me any good, anyways.
“Neighbors? That’s awesome. So I’ll be seeing you around, won’t I?” Justin smiles at me. He’s so sincere. Or so I believe he is.
“Yeah. I guess you will. You can find me here every night. The whole sunset thing has always been a nightly tradition for me. Without it, I would miss it.” I wonder if he actually wants to hear this. I hope he does, I don’t want to waste my breath.
“I can see why. It’s captivating.”
It’s not the only thing that’s captivating.
“Definitely.. It’s a great place for all that… soul searching.” I smile. He seems to have this effect on me. But what can I say? I’ve known him for five minutes.
He laughs. It’s just like music to my ears…
“I like that. I’ll be out to soul search tomorrow evening, most likely. If I see you here… we can do this again.” Justin speaks and then smiles. “Remember… I need to make at least one friend here. Maybe you’re that first friend.”
I smile back. “Maybe I am.”
“I’d hope so.”
But he shouldn’t. I’m bad news. I’m like the rain at the parade. I’m not that girl. I wish I was that girl. I really do. But I’m not.
He raises his eyebrows. “Why not?”
“Because I’m not like normal teenage girls.”
This is what I spit out. It’s a mistake. I know it’s a mistake. I regret it already. It will eat at me for the remainder of the year.
“Good. I don’t like when they’re normal.”
Maybe I won’t regret it.
At that, he stands up and brushes sand off his legs. He gives me a crooked smile. Beautiful. He radiates beauty. Something I wish I was capable of doing.
“I’ll see you tomorrow Elise.”
He remembers my name. It sounds right when he speaks it.
“See you… Justin…” This is all I manage. I can be so awkward. I watch him slowly walk down the sandy beach. I feel enlightened. I cannot seem to wait for the next sunset. However, I still have to witness the sunrise, to get to the sunset…
It’s morning. The sun is already beating down through my bedroom window. My eyes feel thick with sleep. I sit up and peer out my window. The beach is already crowded with groups of people. It’s just another July day, I suppose. Another July day I spend alone, while my used to be friends sit on the beach and talk about their lives, parties, boyfriends and clothes. It’s mindless girl chatter that no longer interests me. Maybe this is why they disowned me. Maybe it is because I am such a downer. But, I can’t know for sure.
I rise from my bed and head towards the door. I twist the glass doorknob and pull it open. I can hear Robert, one of my brothers, snoring loudly from his bedroom. He’s a pain, but he’s still my brother. He’s like the girls, stuck up and obsessed with materials. But, he doesn’t treat me like they do, which I respect.
I grip the stairwell banister and make my way down the stairs. To me, this is just another ordinary day in the life of Elise… until this evening, anyways. I shouldn’t look forward to it. I shouldn’t get my hopes up. It only causes me agony, every time. I’m not a girl who goes out and does things with people during the day. Not even at night. I don’t do anything with anyone. I used to. I suppose you could say I outgrew the people I spent my time with. I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt, losing a best friend, or two at that. It does. But I’m not like them anymore. I don’t want to be like them anymore.
I suddenly stop at the bottom of the stairwell.
I can see him now, through my kitchen windows. He’s walking down to the beach. It’s dangerous down there. Well, not for him. But for me. They’re down there.
But I don’t care.
I peel through my kitchen at high speeds, not even bothering to put my shoes on. I release my blonde hair from it’s ponytail, open the door, breathe in the salty air and down the sand hills, through the weeds and onto the hot, sandy beach. I keep running until I catch up to him.
“Justin!” I call.
He turns his head. I feel a little weak. Maybe it’s because I was running. Not because his eyes really are captivating. Or that he’s smiling at me.