• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 12
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We were only kids the last time we went to the beach together. We ran at the oncoming waves full-speed, and our hands touched, I remember. Our mother slept with a book in her hands.

Waves look like the past and move like the future.

You had short, blonde hair. Our mother’s hair was greying, she said it was from hard work—our father said then his hair would be the greyest thing there was.

Here come the memories, which only ever carry me to two destinations: the last time I ever saw your face, and the last time I ever saw you alive.

The waves aren’t strong enough to knock me over, but they disrupt my balance, sitting in water up to my belly button. I remember how long my hair is when it reaches the water. In the summer it turns blonde, like yours. I remember once you said that if you ever died you’d want us to do something epic with your body, like push it out into a lake on a canoe and light it on fire, in the middle of the night, and I said I’d want the same thing. It occurs to me that if we tried that here, at the beach, the waves would decide where you went. You might wash ashore thirty yards away, the boat might topple. It seems silly, now, to think about what I’d want done with my dead body.

When I stand up my butt is sore. I don’t want to be here when the sun sets and the mothers start calling after their children. I watch a whimbrel run up toward the water as it ebbs away, darting after a small meal burrowing into the wet sand. As the next wave comes in, the whimbrel retreats before being swept away, prey held tight in its beak. I look one last time at the ocean before heading home.