“Did you get the snacks?” she asked.
“No, I thought you wanted to go to dinner.”
“For your graduation party…”
“Oh. Everything is ready to go. Look, I want us to enjoy today. Let’s be here.”
“I’ve been here, Naj.”
“Victoria, please don’t…”
“Please don’t what? Ask you why you’re leaving or argue with you about it? You’re moving across the country. Why isn’t this a big deal to you?”
“Look at me,” he said. Victoria stared deeper into the ocean. “Please turn around.” She looked at him, avoiding his eyes. “Yes, I’ll miss our impromptu trips to the beach and late night discussions on Black America. Just because those days are over doesn’t mean we have to resort to this. We’ve been through too much to let distance get in the way.”
“How is it not going to be in the way?”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Don’t Victoria me.”
“I need to be with my sister.”
“Your sister? You’re not her father, Najee. Going to New York is not going to save her.”
Disillusioned by the truth, he walked away and lowered his head, shielding his eyes from the carnival lights. She crossed her arms, still scolding the waves, careful not to ignore him for too long.
“Najee…” He walked further without turning back, stopping after a few steps. Her attempt to catch up with him left her pink blanket lying on the sand. As she turned to pick it up, she missed his unnerved face. Before he could start walking again, she placed her hand on his shoulder. “I’m not asking you to choose.”
“Yes, you are. But I don’t blame you. The past four years have been…You know what they’ve been. I can’t promise you that I won’t find love in New York, not that I even know what love is outside of you. I can’t give you what you’re asking me for right now. I’m twenty-one. I’m not even ready for graduation, let alone my future. And I know you deserve better, but I—“
“Stop.” She pressed into him, lowering her head against his chest. “I have given you me. And I’m pissed off because I have nothing left.” She pushed away from him almost losing her balance. “You’re leaving me with nothing.” She wiped the water from his eye with the dry corner of her blanket and let her own tears fall. “I know you can’t stay and I’m sorry for asking you to. Please just agree to help me find myself before you go.
“I’m not leaving you. I’m leaving California. I love you too much to just—“
“Love isn’t enough, Najee.” Her voice rang louder than the screaming ferris wheel riders.
“I know.” The waves swallowed his response as they embraced, both longing for the sun to never set.
This story was inspired by Ashley’s photo (posted above) taken when 2 English & 2 Theater majors went to the beach and found an abyss.The events and characters depicted in this story are fictional. Real names were used only for comedic effect. Also, please disregard the story format. I don’t know how to indent on WordPress. Trust me, I tried everything. I have lots of learning to do, but I hope you enjoyed this short short. Please leave comments 🙂