***First part of a two-part story***
There lay the vast
and fathomless sea ahead with its arms open wide; whispering sweet nothings in to
Carol’s ears. The waves made her unstable but she stood there nevertheless watching
the bottom of her skirt glide playfully in water. The scent of the sea breeze,
the touch of the wind against her skin and the music of the dancing waves
enticed her. The ships in the distance flirting with the horizon looked like hazy
figures calling out to her; waiting to hold her hands and carry her away to a whole
new place altogether. The birds flying high seemed to be keeping a watch on
her; as if waiting for her to take a giant leap. But all Carol saw ahead was an
escape; a release from this life from that moment on wards and forever.
It felt like she
had been standing there for ages oblivious to everything behind her. Her feet were
twitching to move into the deep azure world that lay ahead. But at that very
moment a gentle tug and a wet touch in her hand stopped her.
“Mom!” said her five year old girl Emma.
Carol’s trance broke as she saw Emma standing there dripping wet and looking at
her with inquisitive eyes. Around them the beach was filled with revelers,
tourists and food vendors; all engrossed in their worlds. There was a strange yet
intense feeling that she was invisible to all, she and Emma both.
“Mom” shouted Emma again as Carol
appeared to be lost in thoughts. Covered in sand, Emma looked like she had just
been fished out from the shallow seabed.
“Yes baby. What on earth have you been up to?” Carol said as she kneeled down beside Emma and wiped the sand off
her face. Emma smelt of the sea and looked just like the tiny dolphin in her
“Mom I’m hungry. Can we go home?” Emma
said pointing towards their small cottage on the other side of the street from
“Yes honey. Just let me just grab all your toys for you!” said Carol. After a while as the sun readied itself to bathe in the
sea’s embrace, she and Emma walked towards what they called home for as long as
they could remember.
“Pat you have got to stop doing this to yourself” exclaimed Larry as he waited for Patrick to buckle his seat belts. Larry
and Patrick had grown up together in a small beach town, Port Farris. Both in
their late-thirties now, they ran a diner together. Their friendship had stood
the test of time and here they were at the fag-end of the third decade of their
lives still together and still looking out for each other.
Ever since they
had set up the Diner, Larry would pick Patrick up in the mornings and drop him
home after work too. And it was no different today. As Patrick sat in the car,
Larry couldn’t help but notice the dullness that had set in on his face. There
was a time when Patrick wouldn’t stop talking or smiling but here he was today looking
as hollow as a bone.
Patrick was tall and
attractive. He was just like those handsome protagonists one would grow up reading
about in novels. And he looked even more so when in Larry’s company who looked
anywhere between a stout sidekick to a disgruntled bank employee.
“Pat!” nudged Larry trying to get his
buddy to speak something in the least.
“Yes! Eyes on the road Larr! Patrick
knew Larry had been worried sick about him ever since the mishap a year back.
No matter how nagging Larry got, Patrick knew that he meant well.
“Don’t give me that Pat. I know what you have been up to man”
“What Larr, what have I done now?”
“Stop drinking like crazy man. You aren’t young anymore and neither
is your liver!”
“Larr! I’m fine. Really! And it’s just a couple of drinks and that
too at home. How could it harm!"
“Seriously Patt! You’re really asking me that! Would the Missus have
liked to see you this way?”
“Sorry! I didn’t mean to” said Larry and
turned his attention to the wheels.
turned a shade pale. He looked towards the sea that ran along the edge of the road.
He loved the sea ever since he was a child. The swims and the long walks, he
loved them all. The sea was infact his silent companion and his first ever
friend of sorts. Yes, it had been with him even before Larry came into his
life. But it had been more than a year since he had climbed down the steps on
his porch and walked across the street onto the beach that lay ahead. He has
shut that part of himself completely and it was likely to be shut forever. Suddenly
there was a huge crash which broke Patrick’s chain of thoughts that had carried
him away to his carefree childhood days.
“Oh Man!” screamed Larry. He had lost
control of his car and they now seemed to be heading towards the palm trees
towards the edge of the highway. Patrick felt a sense of déjà vu. He wasn’t
scared and neither did he shout as the car tuned and made its way to crash with
the trees. He closed his eyes and thought about none other than Carol, the love
of his life.