Jakes Shell

December 29, 2010
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“I can’t believe you’re leaving tomorrow, I’m going to miss you so much it’s crazy’’, Sophia said as she moved closer to Jake. She wanted to be as close to him as possible; wanted to hear his heart beat, feel the blood going through his veins, and feel the twitch of his eyes when he blinked. It was August 31st, the last day of summer; the last day Sophia had before she started classes at the University of South Carolina and the last day Jake had before he went overseas to serve in Iraq. Their last day together.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can. Just don’t find some other guy while I’m away”, Jake said jokingly, as he kissed Sophia’s cheek. Even though he was joking, there was a pained expression in Jake’s face, and Sophia wasn’t stupid. She knew what he was thinking. She knew what he was hoping she wouldn’t do. It was said about a hundred times before, and it was the same exact line every time he said it. Every time Jake would say, “Just don’t find another guy while I’m away”, Sophia would feel a rush of anger go through her body.

Suddenly pulling away from him, Sophia shouted, “Honestly Jake I hate when you say that! I’m not going to find another guy and you know that. Stop saying it. If you keep doing it, then who knows, maybe I will find another guy.”

There was nothing Sophia could do. The words had already come out and there they were, floating in the salty sea air like seagulls who float in the air waiting for a spot of food. She saw the look that came across Jake’s face after her minor meltdown; pain. He wouldn’t even look at her. He just turned his head and watched the waves crash up against the shore.

They had been at the beach for three hours and hadn’t moved from their isolated spot since their arrival. The sand was hot and itchy, making it uncomfortable and difficult to sit in the same spot for the amount of time that they had, but it made no difference to Sophia or Jake. They weren’t going to move until they had to. The waves seemed to crash unusually hard against the shore that day; it was as if Poseidon was throwing a huge temper tantrum. One came after another in a matter of seconds in a rhythm, loud and hard. The sky was a painful mixture of red and orange and the sun had split the horizon in half.

Minutes passed and Jake had yet to turn around and look at Sophia.
“I’m sorry babe, I didn’t mean what I said. It’s just that you say it so much that it’s starting to hurt that you would think I would do that. We’ve been together for five years; I don’t know why you would ever think that I would throw a five year relationship out the window just because you’re going away.”

It was true, their relationship status and all. Sophia had always known who Jake was, their younger brothers were friends at a point, and in the eighth grade, Jake started to know who Sophia was too. They started to talk at a party, and ever since then, the two had fallen in love. They went through a lot of unnecessary drama in high school; jealous girls, sleep away camp, tons of months where Sophia would turn into a drama queen because of her period and take it out on Jake. But he was always there for her, which is why Sophia loved him so much. And now they were going to be separated for four months straight, and she dreaded the thought of it.

“Do you remember Matt’s party”? Jake said suddenly, surprising Sophia.
“I do and that was when I realized I started to like you. I had a feeling something
was going to happen that night; I even went out and bought a whole new outfit for it,” Sophia replied, laughing at the remembrance of that night.

“ Yeah and we were video chatting after that for hours. I started to really like you then.”

“Do you remember when I told you I liked you Jake? Do you remember what we said to each other that night?”
At the thought of that memory, the two suddenly burst into laughter.

“ I do actually. You said Jake I’m in love with you and I want to be with you forever and ever!” Jake cried as he grabbed Sophia, wrestling her playfully into the sand.
They fit perfectly into each other’s arms. Sophia, who was short and slim, seemed to melt into Jake’s large, muscular arms. It was as if the two were made for each other.

“Oh yeah tough guy? Just because you’re an army brat still doesn’t make you any funnier!” Sophia yelled as she crawled on top of Jake and pinned his arms down into the sand. “ I’m still tougher than you.”
“Yeah I know I’m funny thank you. No, but in all seriousness you said to me, “Jake I like you and I know you don’t like me. But it’s okay, I know you’d never like me and I’m cool with it. I just wanted to tell you how I really felt because it was bugging me.’’ ‘’
“Yes, I did say that. Do you remember what you said to me after I told you how I felt you jerk?”
Jake threw his head back in laughter and replied “I said “ Oh, that’s cool” ‘’
“ I know and I was so embarrassed. But that’s what I’ve learned to love about you; that you’re so down to Earth. I’m still surprised how down to Earth you’ve been about this whole army situation. I thought you would be scared but you seem fine.”

Jake stopped laughing and looked down at the waves again. They came down ever harder now by each second, just like the truth that Jake was leaving and perhaps never coming back, came down harder on the two. He didn’t realize how dark it had become. The sun was almost gone and it peaked right about the horizon to show a glimpse of its beams. That’s when Jake saw it.

A tiny blue shell peaked it’s head out from under a pile of sand that the harsh waves had pushed near Jake and Sophia. The sun beams seemed to point it out to him; it was as if God was trying to get Jakes attention on it. He got up and went to pick the shell up. It was little, but big enough to fit perfectly into Jakes hand. It had ridged edges and pink lines streaked across it. It had a crack on the side of it and a tiny, almost unnoticeable hole in the middle of it.

Jake carried the shell over to Sophia and knelt down in front of her. She looked up at him; her cheeks streaked with black mascara and her eyes gleaming red. The sound of the waves got increasingly louder and louder in the background.
“ I don’t want you to leave”, Sophia said as she grabbed Jakes hand and kissed it.
“ Take this shell wherever you go and think of me. I’ll always be with you even though I won’t actually be here. Just carry this with you and I’ll come home I promise.
“I don’t want to live without you Jake”, Sophia said as he slipped the shell into her hands.
“I know but I’ll come home I promise. Just take care of the shell and whenever you look at it think of me please. I love you Sophia.”

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