Roar

I know this beach. The thought strikes suddenly, and I pause my steps to look about. Don’t I?

“Something wrong?” you ask.

The waves sweep in, tumble over themselves and slip away. I try to find a landmark. Sea-foam surges; pebbles scramble around our feet, then fall still. I can’t find anything I can recognize or latch onto.

“Nothing,” I say. “Just déjà vu.”

We keep moving.

The wind whistles, rumbles, howls. It dances, it dies, it whips and thrashes. You move close enough that we bump and jostle each other as we walk. Waves come and go. Rolling, churning, crashing. My hand finds yours.

Then I remember.

Sand shifts. Waves throw detritus at the land and drag away whatever they can grab. Wind blasts away stick and stone and piles up slow, lumbering hills of grit. People build, abandon, tear down, start again.

I have been here before, I realize, Just not with you.

It roars in my ears. The endless advance and retreat, the constant change, always and never the same.

Our footsteps have already vanished behind us, and I feel the waves pulling sand from beneath my feet.

I grip your hand as tightly as I can.

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox

Wave

The feeling that had been tickling my feet, enticing me to go deeper, suddenly withdrew. I was used to the coming and going of these bubbling feelings. It was fun to feel each new surge of excitement. And knowing I could never hold onto them anyway, I let those feelings trickle away without mourning. Whether I waited for it or not, there was always another wave on its way.

I thought I knew what love was.

It’s not like I had never waded out past the shore to immerse myself in that vast mystery. Liberating, exciting, breathtaking – all of it yes. But also exhausting and dangerous. Better to chart my own course than to get lost in the currents, though it’s not like the sea cared at all about my opinion on the matter.

Should I have seen it coming. What would I have done, what could I have done if I did?

It withdrew farther than it ever had before. I only gradually became aware of what I was missing. And by the time I did, nothing could prepare me for what was coming.

I thought I knew what love was.

And then a tidal wave swept me away.

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox

Gray

I was trying to be happy. Your smile was radiant, and you wore the necklace I gave you for your birthday. Rumbling down the dirt road in your jeep made me feel like a kid again, but then I felt embarrassed for being so old to begin with.

Could you tell what I was feeling? I think you could.

We had the beach practically to ourselves. A biting, misty wind whipped in over the waves. We huddled close together on the pale sand. You slipped your hands beneath my jacket, clung tightly to my sweater. “You’re so warm,” you sighed.

Were you just trying to make me feel better? I’m not sure.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “This was a bad idea.” I felt your body go rigid, felt you begin to pull away, felt everything start to fall apart. No point in putting it off. I lowered my gaze to meet yours.

Your eyes were hard, and I felt myself break against your glare. I didn’t want to lose you. A smile curled your lips. “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” you said. “I’m right where I want to be.”

But did you mean it? I believe you did.

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox