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Things Have Changed
A sigh escapes my lips as I reach out to turn off the computer that has now given me a headache from staring at the bright screen for more than a few hours. The pictures I was editing disappear from sight and silence falls throughout my small apartment. I rub my tired eyes as I take a moment to get used to the darkness of the room that now surrounds me. As I stand on shaky legs I amble toward my cluttered bedroom. I sort through my messy closet to find something to put on after I take a long hot shower before I burrow myself between my warm comfortable sheets. As I make my way toward the bathroom I kick aside all the clutter and useless junk in my path. I pause in front of the mirror before me to glance at my appearance. My light brown hair goes well past my shoulders and cascades down my back stopping a few inches short of my waist. Light blue eyes with thick dark lashes and arched brows stare back at me. My tanned skin glows and clearly shows I’ve spent time in the sun recently. I turn my head slightly to the right to admire the small left scar below my left eye that rests on my cheekbone. A remembrance of teenage years when I first got interested in photography.
It was an obsession I had back then to get the absolute perfect shot no matter how high I had to climb, any rainstorm I had to withstand, or how close to an edge I had to be. So when we went on vacation the summer after my freshman year in high school we went on a hiking trip. My camera was glued to my hands at all times waiting for the perfect shot. I desperately wanted a shot above the trees, my goal was to enter a contest as soon as I made it home, and I got that photo. But it took me slipping and shortly falling down the edge of a cliff and landing on some rocks jutting out to get the shot. Which is how I got the scar. I purse my lips and cringe at the memory of that day. I turn from the mirror and step into the shower.
When I woke up the nest morning I got dressed and packed my camera into its case. My jean shorts and light blue tank top were all the clothes I needed despite the fact that it is mid December. Anywhere else it would be heavy coats and thick pants, but not in the Virgin Islands. I make my way towards my yellow VW bug with my camera case in hand, already thinking about the last time I had visited the spot I was headed towards now. I started the car and pulled away from the curb to go and visit my sanctuary from the past. It was a beautiful day. The sun filtered through the clouds and there was a slight breeze that set the perfect temperature. As I parked the car I sat motionless in the drivers seat. It was so difficult to move or shift my eyes from the sand and water. When I am here I am in my element and I feel comfortable in my own skin.
My mind automatically shifts back to the past and all of the memories here. I’m taken back to the summer of my dreams, the summer every teenage girl who is 17 wished they had. I close my eyes and surrender myself to my thoughts and the smell of sea air, the smell of my last summer of childhood. I finally build up the courage to open my car door and take a few steps toward the smooth, soft, warm sand that beckons me. I pause just short of it to slip off my black flip-flops so I can feel the warmth on the bottom of my feet. The beach is completely abandoned and I am alone. I take my first steps on the sand and everything rushes back. A smile gradually spreads across my face at the feel of it. I take off and break into a sprint towards the water that seems to call to me, eager to feel the temperature against my skin. When I’m finally in mid-calf deep I take a moment to admire how the sun reflects off the greenish blue water. It’s calm, yet I feel as if I’m being watched. I try to shake the feeling but paranoia causes me to turn around and check just to be safe. I was right when I thought I wasn’t alone.
There was now a sleek black Chevy parked next to VW bug. It was a masculine car that had a man leaning on the hood admiring the view. A very tall man with short sun bleached hair, tanned skin, and a pair of very expensive sunglasses covering his eyes. With his legs crossed at his ankles and his arms crossed over his massive chest the only word that could be used to describe him could be confident. Confidence radiated off the man. As I moved closer realization finally hit. Could it really be him? How had the I boy I had spent my dream summer with turn into this man? I came to a stop when I was about 5 yards away from him, to afraid to close the distance between us anymore than that. There was tension as we both stared in amazement.
“What brings you here Jenny?” the man said. His voice, it’s changed. It’s much deeper than I remember. And he called me Jenny, my old nickname. I haven’t been called that in years.
“Hello Sebastian,” I said in a much harsher tone than I had intended. I saw him flinch at the coldness in my tone and instantly regretted it.
“I was wondering when you would come back here. It’s good to see it. I trust you’ve been well taken care of?” he said. My eyes were drawn to his hands, his left to be exact. There was no ring. But I know better than to jump to conclusions with this man.
“I’ve managed well enough. And you?” The words felt false as I spoke them. We’d never had a conversation like this with each other before in our lives. It was a conversation of strangers and we both knew that we weren’t.
“I guess you can say the same for me. Are you going to answer my first question?” he asked curiously. He knew what the date was; it was obvious to me now. The day we broke up, the day that drove up apart and caused us to never speak again.
“Just reliving a few old memories that had crossed my mind recently. Why are you here Sebastian?” I asked with my eyes downcast. It was hard to look at him, let alone have a civilized conversation with him because of our past. It took everything I had not to get into my car and drive away. The only problem was he stood in the way.
“I always come here. I guess you could say it’s become a habit over the years. What old memories are you referring to?”
My blood began to boil, I felt my temper rising and I did nothing to keep it a secret. He was trying to drag it out of me and make me say it! I crossed my arms and stood my ground determined to win this battle. “The memory of the last time we were here and what a wonderful time we had,” I said, my voice dripping with sarcasm. For the first time he drew his eyes away from me. Not missing a beat he began to apologize. I walked away, not wanting to listen to the fake apology he was attempting to tell me. With my head held high I never turned around and I stalked away determined to forget everything about Sebastian and the summer of my dreams.