Ryan stood sipping his coffee as he watched the rain pound against the sliding glass door. He was waiting patiently for it to stop so he could sit on the beach and burn the letter he had written to Larkin this past week. He couldn’t understand why he felt so strongly about having to “send” the letters to her. He was sure she could read them. He didn’t know how, but something inside of him told him she could. Well, it was more like he hoped she could. But all he was surviving on right now was hope. So he held onto it as tight as he could.
The shatter of the coffee mug against the hardwood floor startled Ryan out of his sleep. He had fallen asleep on the couch, mug in hand, and television playing. He quickly cleaned up the glass and the spilled coffee before looking outside again to check the weather. The rain had finally stopped but the wind was battering the waves and the sand was dancing on top of the beach. Ryan checked his watch. It was late, 11:17 p.m. to be exact, but he didn’t care. He was going to burn the letter no matter what time it was.
It was too windy to start a bonfire, so Ryan just clutched the letter with a grill tong and lit it with a match. The only thing the wind was good for was whisking the embers into the night sky. He sat on his beach chair and watched as the letter slowly melted into nothing and again he found himself looking for Larkin amongst the waves.
Ryan slowly headed back to the house and on the way he stopped to arrange the scattered patio furniture pillows back into their proper places. Before going inside, he rested his elbows on the deck railing and scanned the horizon with his tired eyes. He always thought the ocean’s most peaceful time was at night. It too was at rest. No speeding boats to disrupt the calm waters, no fishing rods poking at its hungry guests. He gave the horizon one last glance before the corner of his eye was caught by a silhouette sitting on his dune. Frustration and anger set in as he had already warned her not to go on his dunes again. As he hurried toward the dunes, he yelled out.
“Hey, what did I tell you last week? You can’t be on my dunes!”
She didn’t move away this time, she continued to sit there as he got closer.
“Hey? Do you hear me? You need to leave!”
No sooner than when that last word left his lips, he became suddenly speechless. He was close enough to make eye contact with her, and he would recognize those eyes anywhere.
“Hi, beautiful-faced boy.” Her smile was finally amongst the clouds, her eyes amongst the stars. “I got your letters.”