“It’s actually the Milky Way”, said John.
I truly despised him. He managed to gather all of the qualities that make me vomit uncontrollably and somehow modified them into something even more disgusting. The fact is when you throw a farewell party, uninvited and unwanted people are surely to arrive but for some naïve reason I thought that mine would be different.
We were sitting on the front porch, drinking and talking about how fast these three months went by and even if most of them were atrocious, we still were left with the feeling that they were the most beautiful experience any of us had ever had. Meeting and working with people from all across the globe even for one summer, creates a special kind of bond, similar to a family but without the obligations. Most of my friends already left, because they are working in the morning and I… well I was just eager to catch my flight at noon and go back home.
“And that over there is Andromeda.”, he noted again confidently, even though he was pointing randomly at the night sky.
John’s clumsy observations and the unnecessary occurring small talk made me to contemplate suicide on a whole different level. To spare my guests the gruesome scene where I stab myself to death with a plastic fork, I decided to leave with the pretext of checking if my luggage is properly packed for tomorrow but actually chose to go for a stroll on the beach.
It was a hot and humid night. The ocean breeze tried it’s best to make it more bearable. The sound of waves crashing and the subtle taste of salt immediately cured my bad mood. The moon paved a thin road on the water surface and I just sat there with my drink and stared at the blackness above me, filled with billions of stars, that oddly looked like snowflakes. To lose track of time is fairly easy when you are presented with a masterpiece, painted by the Gods on the canvas of a summer night azure.
“That’s a view worth killing for.” I muttered to myself eventually, astonished by the scenery.
“It’s not so bad but shouldn’t you be drinking with the others?”
I was so engulfed in my own thoughts that I didn’t notice Ashlynn’s presence.
- Ash, you scared the living daylight out of me! What the heck are you doing here?!”
- The others started arguing about sports and I went inside to see what you are up to. When I saw your empty room I immediately knew where to find you.”
- And you thought that terrifying me to death is the best approach? Well... I’ll give it to you, you almost succeeded.
“Mind if I join you?”, she asked gently with a grin and a playful fire in her dark-green eyes, to which I had to obey.
For a while we just marveled at the stars and sat in silence. There was tension that I’ve never felt in her company before and it made me feel uneasy so as I was about to break the silence, out of the blue, she asked me:
- What are you going to miss most about this place?
- Well, work is something I definitely wouldn’t miss.
- Tell me about it... some of us will have to suffer for a couple more weeks.
Her raven hair was curled up on her chest and her pale skin was drowned in moonlight.
- The sunsets.
- Huh? - The rosy-pink sunsets and the few days which we were off work and spent on the beach just draining beers and reminding ourselves that things aren’t as bad as they seem to be. That’s what I’m going to miss most.
She gazed into the horizon and unexpectedly laid her head on my shoulder. I was stunned.
- I think I’m going to miss you most.
My brain died, my head spun and I felt like running away. Somehow I managed to collect a few of my thoughts and replied, hoping that she wouldn’t notice the brief pause.
- I’ll miss you too Ash.
She snuggled closer and I could feel the warmth of her skin. I was even mindful of my breathing so that her comfort wouldn’t be disturbed. We held on to each other for a quarter of an hour, which seemed like an eternity to me. Not anyone or anything had the intention of interrupting us.
“I want you to have this”, she said, shuffling in my arms and then handling me a small profile picture of herself from a few months ago. “To make sure you won’t forget me that easily.”, she continued and just then I saw the glimmer in her eyes.
- Ash, don’t be like that. I know I live across the country but we still can text or call each other at any given moment. Plus, you have Danielle, Casey and even John, for Christ sake. You’d be alright.
- You think so?
- I know so.
She shifted on my lap, held my hands, looked straight through my soul and slowly leaned towards me.
One kiss and I was swiftly enchanted by this girl, that I used to work with through the whole summer and barely even said hi to her. The abruptness of it all made me question if this is actually real, or if it’s another cruel joke, played by my own brain, while I’m soundly asleep.
All of a sudden she stood up and broke the spell. ”Let’s go for a dip”, Ash said and before I even had a chance to give her some of my wittier replies, she was already fully undressed and was walking to where the waves met the golden sand. After regaining my composure, I followed.
As we passed the shallows, our bodies intertwined and danced.
Stars fell, planets crumbled and galaxies laughed with childish joy. We spent the extraordinary night, or what was left of it, in an embrace, which filled the now colder air with vague promises and empty dreams.
I woke up laying naked on the seashore, with a picture in my hand. Dawn was just breaking and I quickly got my head together, awkwardly dressed and sprinted back to the house. Ashlynn was nowhere to be seen, even though I called her a trillion times and left twice as many texts. I had a plane to catch and a broken heart to mend.
Time wasn’t in our favour, nor was faith. -S.