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