General Stories

The Beach – A Short Story

A starry night.

His bare foot touched the warm, but dark water of the sea. The wet feeling was welcome after this long walk. Standing still in this location was the payoff for a, surprisingly tough, journey from the closest village. It used to be easy to get here! Was it because it was night? No – he remembered well coming here at night before. Was it because the path deteriorated? The townsfolk must have neglected it. Surely, they have no use for the beauty of this spot, so maintaining the path was not worth it to them. Nonetheless it was a treasure for him.

A wave of unusually cold water washed over his feet. He backed off from the sea – he felt betrayed. Just a few steps away, he realized the ridiculousness of that feeling and sat down. Was this not what he should expect from the sea? Was this not even the reason he came here? The sea did not betray him – he betrayed his own expectations.

Slowly he sat down, his gaze drifts from one oncoming wave to the next, until it reaches the horizon. He noticed the lights of a far away ship, competing with the stars above his head and the dim lights of the village behind him. None could really claim the title of brightest, and not only because the moon was already holding that. He laid down on his back, taking in the full, yellowish glowing circle of the brightest.

A refreshing cool wind let him shudder for a moment. When they were here together, this never was a problem – for obvious reasons. They would just cuddle closer for those short moments and enjoy the otherwise cozy temperatures. He could barely remember coming here alone at night anymore. Did he bring a jacket before? He didn’t today at least. It shouldn’t be much of a hassle to just wait it out! A few moments of freezing or returning early? An easy choice.

A loud caw of a probably colorful bird caught his attention. It must have been close. The moon did not plan on making it easy for him to spot it. Another one, slightly further away – was the bird leaving? Or was a second bird approaching him? He slowly turned around, using his hands to keep himself steady. His eyes needed some time to adapt, too, after staring at the bright moon. Only a few seconds. It was barely enough to catch a glimpse of the bird flying through the trees he himself emerged from not that long ago.

Now that he focused on the trees, he notices some activity. A few smaller birds were happily chirping, while taking turns fishing for bugs in the air. A flying squirrel sailing through the night – a sight he hadn’t even noticed by day! How could he have missed all of this when wandering by? Was he too focused on his goal? His own expectation of arriving? The short distraction made him lose sight of the squirrel, something he instantly started to regret.

Regret. A word which can create a powerful downwards spiral of thoughts in many heads. He came here to for the experience of the past, but somehow it turned out to be so different. Was it tainted by the time they spent here together? Or was the, nearly magical, power of the experience before just unattainable? Coming back, just for the sake of going back.

When they came here the first time, he wanted to share the mystical nature of his favorite spot. The view far above the sea. The reflection of the sun, the stars, the moon. No matter the time they would come here, it was always beautiful. But today it felt like he didn’t belong here, even the road tried to stop him. He should go back after all, for the sake of accepting fate as it was. He got up.

He stopped. Had he given up? Yes. Had he not accepted his fate all the time? Was it him putting in the effort? No; he did not want to give up. There was so much to do, so much to say to each other, so much beauty and warmth to experience together!

Some splashes of warm water from the waves hit his feet. The lukewarm wind slightly pushed him to the road home. He looked forward to the path taking him there.