The wind slid coolly over the limp shoulders of the girl as Ava sat on the edge of the bluff, her eyes half lidded against the setting sun. She held her long legs pulled tightly to her chest, her arms wrapped around them as she huddled against the cold wind. Her sandy blond hair flickered in the wind, defying the loose white hair band it had been caged in.
The thick pods of the sea grass rattled in the wind, filling her contemplating mind with a gentle music. Knowing no one was there to hear her, Ava slowly parted her lips and began to hum, allowing the melody flowing through her body to escape into the cooling air. Becoming braver, she allowed the noise to mature into a haunting rhythm as she sang into the wind, her vocalizing joining the wind through the grass like a hymn to the sea.
Images flashed through Ava’s mind as at last she allowed the tears to fall freely from her soul and she unleashed her broken heart for contemplation. The melody within her continued to run wild as she choked back a bitter sob.
She could see Jason’s face, swimming through her thoughts along with all the other blurry faces. He was smiling down at her, nothing but excitement and hope filling his eyes as he patted her shoulder, finally pulling her to him in a tight hug. Feeling foolish she had pushed him away and laughed, telling him to hurry back home.
The name seemed odd, falling from her lips to disappear on the cool night breeze. Darkness had begun to move in, covering the sea in a secret blanket of blackness. Still Ava remained seated, rubbing her arms roughly against the bitter chill. Goosebumps covered her arms and she sighed.
“Come on Dreamer, wake up and get over here before we all turn gray!” Ava looked up from the tall green grass of the park and smiled warmly at Jason. He stood just under six feet and his blond tousled hair framed his handsome face as he waved at her to join them. He wore a loose blue tanktop and baggy gray shorts. She hurried to him, like a young loyal puppy.
“I’m tired Jason. . . can’t we go home?” Ava had whined, knowing Jason and his friends still would want to remain and play basketball for at least another hour. She hated being the annoying tag-along sister who spoiled everything but she hadn’t even wanted to come in the first place.
“Oh, does it suck to be Ava?” one of Jason’s friends stated snidely, the disgust written across his face enough to injure the six year old’s tender feelings.
“Knock if off man, she didn’t do anything to you.” Jason interjected forcefully, scowling at his friend. “ If she wants to go home, I’ll take her home. You can stay here with the others. I’ll see you tomorrow.” And without another word Jason placed his hand on Ava’s small shoulder and led her away from the surprised young man.
Ava peered across the sea, staring at the black waves as they ate harshly at the rocks interfering with their trip to the shore, splashing up their sides in a large crest. That had been eleven years ago . . . a time when fairytale's ended in happily ever after and she’d had Jason to protect her from the world.
Slowly Ava pulled out a medallion that she’d carried in her pocket for the last week. She wiped her tears away as she stared at it sadly. It had been a Monday night, spaghetti dinner then football and popcorn at the big screen TV in the living room. She’d just been dosing off, nestled against the plush armchair when the doorbell had rung.
Her mother had gotten up to see who it was and Ava had tried to return to her slumber. She couldn’t though, an odd feeling of dread pushing at her consciousness. When her mother hadn’t returned for the last five minutes of the game Ava rose and entered the kitchen. She had found her mother sobbing in one of the kitchen chairs and felt her heart drop to the bottom of her soul.
“Ava sweety . . . Jason isn’t coming home.” That was all Ava had needed to hear to confirm her premonition. Her brother had been drafted into the war two years earlier. He had often been in life-threatening situations but he had always survived. In Ava’s eyes her big brother was invincible. So why was her mother telling her she would never see him again?
Because he’s dead. Ava though bitterly. Your big brother, the one who stood up for you, who loved you as his sister, who was the best brother in the entire world, the one you knew would be back any day; Jason the invincible soldier . . . is dead.
“Jason . . . ” Ava whispered to the sea, at last rising to her feet. She stared down at the jagged rocks below, her heart aching. “Because of you I’ll never have to stop dreaming. Thank you. ”
And then Ava turned and headed through the tall grass toward the cluster of building’s that created their neighborhood, the small medallion glinting in the moonlight as the waves washed over it rhythmically, echoing the song of the dreamer.