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Forever (Forever Together... Or Forever Gone?)
The waves brought the water to the shore and back to the sea. The sand felt good under my skin as I sat in my shorts and tank under the sun. There were families spending time together – but I was alone and all by myself. It was usual because I lived by the sea.
Sometimes, when my father was not busy doing some business, he talked to about different things a father and daughter could talk to while we were walking by the shore. My mother, on the other hand, would I meet when I finally put myself to sleep forever. Guilt could have been the thing I had housed for centuries because my mother died of giving birth to me. But guilt never flashed through me – not even a single moment – because I felt my mother’s presence strong and knew there was nothing to be guilty of.
Looking up to see a man with sea blue eyes and sun gold hair, I raised an eyebrow. If I felt good with him, it was probably because his features were the color of sea and sun – my home. “Hello, tourist.”
“Tourist, huh?” His voice was deep and masculine – definitely not a late-bloomer.
“You are, aren’t you?” There were different people who visited the beach and they were all tourists. My father and I were the only one who really lived in this place. Except for the two of us, there were other people but not so many.
“Walk?” he asked, giving me his hand.
Not taking it, I pulled myself up and dust off the sand from my skin. There were many – not one or two – tourist boys who said they liked me or something. Never did I buy any of their words, knowing better than that. If I would be in a relationship, I wanted it to last more than a lifetime and not just for summer.
“How is your summer in our place?” It would be rude to ignore tourists so I never did. Plus, my father taught me better than that. And I knew that my mother wouldn’t like giving birth to a rude daughter.
“At first, I was bored.” Smiling more to himself than me, he made me think he was an idiot. “But then, I saw you.” There was it again – the silly I-like-you thing.
He followed when I started walking with my bare feet. The sand was hot, but not the burning kind of hot. I liked how it felt under my feet. After all, this was my home.
Ignoring what he said, I decided to ask a question. “Are you alone?”
Taking his time before answering, he played with the sand and his feet. “Yes.” Before I could ask why, he went on. “Sometimes, I need to be alone. We all do.”
That was the same reason I spent time alone. Realizing he would be a good company, I smiled. “Finally, someone agrees to me.”
“You believe in what I said?” Smiling, he gave me all the clues I needed to know that he saw me as s good company as well. “It’s good to kno—”
A child bumped into him, cutting him in mid-sentence. “Oh.”
The man steadied the kid until the kid finally managed to stand without looking like jelly. “Next time, be careful, okay?” There was something in me that like the saccharine tone he used with the child. When the child nodded and left, he turned his attention back to me. “Hey! Hey…?”
“Phoebe.” It was a cold evening when I was born and the moon was so round at the time – so my father decided to name me Phoebe, meaning “moon” Plus, my features, dark hair and grey eyes, were the color of night. “And you are…?”
“Cyrus.” It was a name that means “sun”.
His body was muscular and well-built. The only thing he was wearing was a trunk and his feet were bare as well. “You like how the sand feels like under you?”
Nodding, he looked at my feet and smiled. That was when the wind blew and told me it was time.
“Cyrus, I have to go.” Never did I know but I just felt it. When the wind blew, it meant that my father was on the way home. I was not a witch but I believed it was my mother – or at least, I wanted to believe in that. “I have to help my father with the house.”
“I understand.” Before I could go on my own way completely, he called my attention back. “Can we meet here again tomorrow?”
There was it. Never did anyone ask to meet me again for the next day or the day after that. Never did anyone ask my name and give his own. But Cyrus did both of those things. “It is fine with me. Same time?”
“Yes. And I’ll wait for you.” After what he said, I left him and went home. Since then, we started seeing each other every morning. Sometimes, we spent the night walking by the shore. We were having fun and spending time together. That was when the summer died.
“I hope you enjoyed your stay here.” Smiling, I tried to show him that he had been a good company. But he didn’t give the smile back. “You’re honestly a good company.”
“Good company… What about lover?” When I gave him an interrogating look, he scratched his nape and chuckled nervously. “Well, I’m just… kidding.”
What he said sounded more like a question than an explanation. But I liked it and laughed. Taking his hand, I pulled out a sheet of paper from my pocket and slid it to his palms. Inside was my number. It wasn’t typical for me to do that but I did. Even though summer died, our friendship wouldn’t.
“There’s never a long-distance relationship. If I left, remember that I leave with you in my heart.” It was what he said before he left that summer. I was actually tempted to say that we didn’t have any relationship except our friendship. But knowing better than that, I didn’t and instead, kept quiet and savored the feelings as those words embraced me. It felt good and I hoped they’re true.
My life went on the same way it went during the other years. Most of my time was spent in studying but I never left a day without visiting the shore. The waves hit my feet as they washed the shore and I loved how it felt. If there was one thing I noticed, Cyrus didn’t call or text me. Never did he send a letter or something.
There were people who were fooled by what they saw. It would be a lie if I said I wasn’t one of them. When I gave him my number, it meant that I hoped he would come back – which he never did. One, two, three… I counted the days he didn’t come. When one hundredth day came, I decided to stop counting and let it go. After all, it was my father and I – and even though not physically present, my mother.
After a few days, a knock on the door got my attention. Opening it, I saw a man. “Good evening, Ma’am.”
“Good evening.” Rubbing my eyes, I raised my eyebrows. “What is it?”
“I am a police officer and I need to find someone. Have you seen this boy?” He handed a boy’s picture. The boy had blue eyes and blond hair with prominent jaw and was neatly shaved. When I took a closer look, I recognized who he was. Cyrus…
“Why? What happened?” If I answered his question before I asked mine, I wouldn’t answer mine – or at least properly. I had to know the truth, what happened.
“He was gone home for summer. It had been three months and he’s still gone. There’s a boat that sank more or less three months ago. But his body wasn’t found…” As he went on and on, my mind was off somewhere. “Do you know him?”
“Cyrus… His name is Cyrus, right?” If ever it wasn’t Cyrus and I was wrong, I would still be hurt, knowing he was safe but didn’t care for me. But it was better than being dead.
“It is. And he’s glad you still know him.” Looking beyond the man, I saw Cyrus with a bouquet of flowers. Thanking the policeman – or fake policeman – he gave me something, a payment, a tip, whatever.
When he turned to me, he smiled. There was a roaring tempest in my mind. Should I be happy that he was safe? Should I be angry he made fun of me? Should I be sad that he was alive but didn’t text or call?
When he was standing only a few inches in front of me, I slapped him and abruptly draped my hands around his neck before he could react. Pulling me away to square our eyes, he smiled and kissed me. The first time we met, it was morning – his time. After almost three months, today, we met again and it was night – my time.
“I will go where you are and stay where you are. I love you, Phoebe.”
“Prove it.” He kissed me and I knew that it would last forever. He stayed in the island for a few years. But when we had a misunderstanding, he walked out and left. And he was gone.