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The Sound of Heartbeats
As much as Savannah loved her grandmother’s house, it too, would soon be a memory. Her life was somewhere else. This is only a visit, her last, she told herself as she slipped between the dunes.
The ocean and sky graying under the wings of a gull in the setting sun brought it all back, like rolling waves making their way toward land.
Beaches, like people, are not all that different from one another; strands of sand and sea, locked in the eternal dance of tides and listening only to the whispers of the moon.
After finishing her supper, something she picked up on the way in, Savannah switched on the porch light and followed the sound of the ocean. The beach lay empty. If not for her, the sun would go down alone. Shadows growing long were beginning to fade into the sand and the night, as she walked along the water’s edge.
In cutoffs and her favorite t-shirt, Savannah reminded herself of the girl she used to be, cool foam swirling about her feet.
With the tall and bright colored houses watching over, she spread her towel on the soft, warm sand.
“Therapy,” Savannah told herself, which must be working, not having many tears to dry.
Under the spell of night waves picking up the last bit of light as they spent themselves on the waiting shore, she remembered. Another lonely gull passed over and not having gone too far, banked itself against the wind as if to return, but it didn’t. It disappeared. Sandpipers dotted the wet sand and after a while, disappeared too.
Music from a radio made its way from somewhere behind her, from one of the tall houses across the dunes. With the music, also came the sound of voices, laughter, and the smell of a charcoal grill mingling in the night breeze.
She would go for a swim in the ocean in the morning she decided, before making her way toward the porch light which began reaching out for her.
Sometime in the night, through the opened window of her bedroom, she heard the opening and closing of a door. She imagined it might be the neighbor man who waved at her earlier, on his way out of his driveway.
With the swaying sound of the ocean roll as company, her mind wandered backwards in time. She wondered who lived there now, next door, under the same live oaks which shadowed her bedroom from the moonlight now spilling through the curtains.
Wrapped in warm memories, Savannah smiled, thinking about the boy next door. She wondered what became of him; and what became of the girl she had been, the girl who used to lay in that bed waiting to slip out into moonlit nights?
Nicholas Jackson, no doubt, was long since gone from the little island and couldn’t be the man who waved at her from the pickup, no way. Still, the thought of it being him passing by her grandmother’s house that afternoon, made her heart skip a beat.
“Not in a million years,” she sighed to the darkness and falling asleep before hearing its reply.