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In Black and White
The sand is still warm beneath my toes from the earlier afternoon’s sunshine. The sun has now sunk beneath the shining wet waves, but a soft glow still tickles the sand, and it glimmers in reply. I do not notice the beauty; I do not see the first star as it peeps slowly out from its daytime cocoon. My bewildered eyes look at you only.
“But—where?” I whisper quietly, and my voice comes out choked. “Where are you going?”
You look at me sadly, like maybe it’s the last time you ever will. “I have to go. I don’t want to leave you, but you know I can’t stay here anymore, Amber. You must understand.”
“You haven’t explained anything to me!” I cry out, but I know I am only stalling—trying to post-pone the parting I know is going to come. “Why won’t you tell me!?”
I am hurt, and you can see it. I know because you wince, like my desperation has stabbed your conscience and it bleeds. Now your face changes, as if it is trying to tell me something without words. A story is traced there, but it is unclear. Something is holding you back; an enchantment or a spell has locked the words you want to speak inside.
The soft glow of the fading sun is gone now, and stars are coming out to play. Tall grass whispers gently in the cool wind, but I do not hear their song, because you are speaking now.
“I wish I could tell you everything, but I cannot.” From the look on your face I can tell you mean it. “All you can know is that I am leaving, and pray to return to you someday, but…” You do not have to finish. I know what you were about to say. I often do. Over the few months I have known you; we have come to understand each other so well. I know your strange, old-fashioned speech and have become accustomed to your mysterious secrets. You have come to love my wild dreams and ambitions, and endured the many long rambling speeches I make so often. Tonight, though, I am not content for you to keep your secret, and my dreams feel dry and colorless, as if they are black and white films, old and forgotten.
“Why can’t I go with you?” my voice is shaking and my chin trembles.
You give me a distressed look and I know the answer. Your face, usually so happy and joyful, is confused and upset. Your deep eyes rise up and look at the full moon, white and pale as a sea shell. Your hand reaches for mine.
Your fingers grasp mine tightly, and when you pull away, something cold and smooth is in my hand. I look down and find a silver locket gleaming in my palm. Words are glowing softly on its face and bring it close to my face to read them in the starlight. They are not in English or any other language I have ever seen, and I look up questioningly.
“You will understand.” you smile, “Nothing makes sense at first.” You turn and begin to walk away. Suddenly you stop and turn around. “Amber, please do not forget me.”
I don’t trust myself to speak. It feels like one of those old cheesy movies my sister loves to watch. I have always mocked them, with their terrible actors and feeble props and effects, but now I cannot stop tears from coming to my eyes. Unlike those movies, I know this one will not end happily, because I can feel you will not return.
The locket is cold in my tightly closed hand, but it gives me some comfort as I watch your silhouette grow more distant in the moonlight. Waves crash along the shore and lap at my bare feet like a living thing, trying to wash away my sadness. I raise my head to the ocean breeze and let the wind run its smooth fingers through my hair. I do not feel it. My mind thinks only of you.