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One is Silver

It’s still dark outside when I slide open the back door and make my way down to the dock. The dew on the grass tickles my bare feet; the air is still cool from the night, but I don’t mind it. I step onto the wooden dock, lifting my feet to reveal a dark footprint. My footprints melt away as I walk further down the dock. I sit on the very edge, my feet nearly skimming the surface. The still blue stretches for miles before it meets the horizon. A sliver of orange peeks out between the blue and the dim sky; I made it. I watch as the sliver grows larger until the entire sky is streaked with shades of yellow, orange and pink.

I look to the empty space beside me. The space has been empty for five years. I can’t help but think she should be here. The sunrise isn’t the same without her sitting next to me.

As the sun climbs higher in the sky, my mind drifts back to the summer days when I was younger…



***

It was the first summer I would spend in my new home. My mother had decided to move just a few weeks before we arrived at the white house on the beach. “It’ll be an adventure,” she said, just like every new town before this one. We left as soon as fifth grade ended for me. The next twelve weeks looked incredibly dull to a ten year old without a single friend to spend them with.

As we arrived at what would be the third week being in sunny Florida, I had taken to spending my days reading on the dock behind our house. My mom had tried desperately to sign me up for summer clubs and sports, but I preferred my book, and frankly, the thought of meeting new people made me a bit queasy. I’d always been rather shy and reserved; I managed to make friends in each new town, but I was never content on making new ones.



*

The day started similar to this one. I hopped out of bed and walked down the back steps towards the dock. My toes reached the start of the dock. My usual serene setting was interrupted by a shadow at the end of the waterfront. I walked slowly forward; the dark figure grew larger until it took the form of a girl. She heard me come up behind her and turned to face me. She had curly brown hair and bright blue eyes; even in the morning light I was able to see them clearly. Before I was able to open my mouth to ask why she was in my spot, the girl spoke.

“I’ve seen you watching the sun come up every morning since you came here. It’s really pretty, huh?” I nodded, she jumped up and stuck out her hand, “The name’s Millie, its short for Melinda; pleasure to meet-cha and welcome to happy Ruskin.”

I took her hand and shook it, “Mine’s Sawyer,” I replied, talking more to the ground than to Millie. From the corner of my eye, I could see the sun split the horizon. I turned my body to face the ocean and sat on the edge of the dock. It was quiet for nearly two whole minutes before Millie spoke again.

“Mind if I join you?” I shook my head and the girl plopped down beside me, staring up at the sky.

I never managed to shake Millie after that. Every morning she’d sit right next to me on the dock and we’d wait for the sun to come up. After watching until it was just a small yellow ball, we’d part and go back to our homes for breakfast.

Contrary to what I believed the summer would be like, I never spent a day alone. Millie and I spent each day together; collecting seashells for necklaces on the beach, going to the park, and chasing down the ice cream man.

It seemed as though the summer was over as soon as it began, and before I knew it, school was less than a week away. My mom took me to get new supplies for school as well as an outfit to wear on the first day. Millie and I walked to school together that day and she introduced me to all of her friends. I found that I fit into Ruskin very well, not only that, but it soon became the best town I’d ever lived in. My mom fell in love with Ruskin with me. She loved the year-round warmth, and the neighborhood we lived in almost as much as I did.

Millie and I spent two more summers together after that one. The way we spent them changed, from tanning to chasing boys and club volleyball. But, one thing did stay exactly the same; every morning before dawn, you could find us on the dock, watching the start of a new day.

The year I was in eighth grade changed everything. It was two weeks before school would start; Millie and I became anxious to see all of our school friends. I walked down the beach to the dock just as dawn hit, Millie was sitting alone on the edge of it. As I approached her, I could see her shoulders shaking, soft cries erupting in time with the quivering of her shoulders. I sat down on the dock beside her and put my arm around her shoulders. We sat like that for a good ten minutes before her sobs subsided and she had calmed down enough to speak.

“Sawyer, I’m,” she stopped, sniffling a bit, “I’m moving.” Her words cut through me, I wanted badly to ask her to repeat herself, but I knew the words were true. I finally knew how my friends felt when I left. Millie started to speak again. “My dad and Lori, they’re getting married now. But she has kids, and apparently they can’t be taken from their friends and school, but its okay if I am.” Lori had been dating Millie’s dad for almost four months and Millie hated her. She hated her for telling her what to do and how to do it, but most of all; she hated her for replacing her mom.

“I have to start packing my room up today, we’re leaving the day before school starts.” She spoke softly, staring out at the ocean.




*

Millie didn’t come out to watch the sun come up with me the next day, or the day after. She barely came out of the house at all. Three days before I would go back to school, a moving truck pulled into their driveway. I watched as her father and Lori loaded the truck with cardboard boxes.

The next morning, I walked down to the docks; Millie would be leaving today. As my feet reached the dock, I found that again, I would be watching the sunrise alone. I closed my eyes and opened them again, hoping to wake up from the bad dream I was having. The sky began melting into hues of orange and pink; the colors all looked duller though, my solemn mood ruining my favorite time of day.

From behind me, I heard the sound of my best friend’s voice, “It’s really pretty, huh?” I nodded, turning to face her. She sat down beside me, holding a small white box in her hands. “I made this for you,” she held out the box for me to take. I took it from her and pulled off the lid; inside was a seashell bracelet just like the ones we made during the summers. A small charm hung from the twine, a sun. I clasped the bracelet on my wrist and hugged my friend. For the last time, we sat on that dock with our feet dipped in the water and watched the sun climb into the sky.
***

That summer was almost five years ago today. I’m leaving for college now, and I haven’t seen or heard from Millie at all in those five years. I still wear the bracelet she made me, it’s a bit worse for wear, but the meaning behind it is as clear as when I received it. This will be the last sunrise I see from the dock, so I’m taking a picture – people tell me they last longer.





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