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

Dune

Tori sat on a sun-bleached log, staring back down the dune the way we had come. “I just need a minute,” she said. “You don’t have to wait for me.”

I shrugged, dropped my backpack in the sand, and sat beside her. We were quiet. Gulls cawed overhead. The wind whisked away our sweat. Finally, I asked, “What are you thinking about?”

Tori’s eyes fell, and I saw her jaw tighten. I had pushed, perhaps too hard. She lifted her head, but deliberately looked away from me.

“I’m trying, June.”

It pained her to say those words, and I felt the pain echoed in my own breast. “I know you are.” I promised, instinctively placing a hand on her knee, desperate to comfort, to reassure, to protect.

“I am,” Tori insisted. Her hands remained in her lap, fidgeting. “I want to get over it. I just . . .”
“I know.” I could feel her withdrawing despite all my attempts to hold her. So, I let go.

I stood, looked up at the crest of the next dune, and said, “We should keep moving. I bet the view’s even better from up there.” Then I held out my hand.

And she took it.

Story by Gregory M. Fox
Photo by Elvira Blumfelde on Unsplash