His body had never been found and I had made peace with it. But never today.
Every year, on this same day, wherever I was, the romantic half of my heart expected him to walk through my door saying something soap operaesque like, “I was shipwrecked on a deserted island” or “I had amnesia and as soon as I remembered who I was, I came back.”
But the other realistic half of my heart knew better. He had been too beautiful of a soul to remain on this earth for long.
Mother had never liked him, some excuse about his career or family not being professional, which was pretty ridiculous coming from someone with her background. Her hatred for him had everything to do with her jealousy, the time that my relationship took away from her whims and my gatekeeper duties of all things Simon.
When the boating accident had happened, instead of being a supportive and normal mother, her words were, “We all have to go someday. You’re young. There are plenty other fish in the sea.”
I didn’t speak to her for weeks.
I was the problem because I was too “thin-skinned”. She saw absolutely nothing wrong with the callousness of her water-related remark.
I curled up on the outdoor chaise and nursed my coffee. I had nowhere to go. No matter where I was or the job I had, I always took today off. My routine was to stay in and just make it a quiet day. No calls, no internet, no music. A little Netflix, maybe start a new book or flip through a magazine but that was about it. And since I had luxury at my feet, I planned on adding the study of the waves to the day’s agenda.
After his disappearance, it had taken me a few years to even start thinking of dating again and when I did, it was due to Ella’s pushing. I definitely didn’t do it whole heartedly. It was about six months in when I had met Dex at one of our partner’s corporate functions. Tall, dark, charming and gregarious, Dex had made me laugh and had slowly pulled me out of my dark hole.
Looking back, I realized that Dex had smelled my stench of dysfunction and had preyed on me like a shark in bloody water. Yes, I had allowed him to sink his teeth in hard and make him my second puppet master. But I was also grateful because if not for my experience with him, I wouldn’t have made the difficult decisions that had landed me in Puerto Rico today. Away from the rest of the world. Feeling more in control of my life than I ever had.
I was just about to grab another cup of coffee when I heard my name from a distance. I peered over the rail to see Nate running across the sand and waving his arms as if I still couldn’t see him. Poor Alma couldn’t keep up and trailed far behind.
“Laney, Laney! Why aren’t you on the beach today?” Nate had both hands resting on his hips as if he was waiting for a valid excuse. I was debating what to say but before I could, he scrutinized my face.
“You look sad.”
Damn. This kid was intuitive. I simply nodded.
By this point, Alma had caught up, huffing and puffing. She nodded to me, trying to catch her breath.
“That’s because I am Nate.”
“I just am.”
Nate was silent for a long minute as he looked up at me. “I don’t want you to be sad.”
“Well, I’ll try not be Nate.” What else could I say?
“If Papi says that it is ok for me to come over, can I?”
Alma tugged on his arm to get his attention. “Nate, maybe Miss Delaney is busy today.” I could see him considering Alma’s words but he paid her no mind.
“Laney, are you busy today?” Point blank.
“Then I’ll be back. And we will do something to make you not sad.” The kid was determined.
Nate started running back down the beach, but not before Alma apologized for the intrusion and then chased after him.
There went my quiet day. Maybe it was time to stop my little ritual. He probably wouldn’t have like it anyways. I grabbed that second cup of coffee I wanted, resettled myself into the chaise and contemplated on how I would keep little Nate occupied when he got back. Because he definitely would be back.
Little did I know that Nate wouldn’t return alone.
©2015 Marquessa Matthews
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