I could make out her silhouette in the darkening evening, she was propped up on one of those easy folding chairs with an umbrella open over her head which was absolutely irrelevant considering the fact that the sun had long made its way down the shadowy horizon, the evening air flared my hair back as I walked towards her holding the six-pack beer in my hands, I could see that Rex was lying in the loamy sand beside her and she also had a bottle of brandy with her, one of the empty folding chairs was beside her.
I cleared my throat which made her sit up and look at me, “So you finally come around, thought you were going to stand me up, considering how you left this morning.”
“You know I would never do that, not even on my life,” I said sitting down beside her watching the waves roll in a calm manner, “Want a Bud? Bet it’s much better than the Jack Daniels you’re chugging down.”
“You bet,” she said reaching down to grab a beer from the six-pack I had brought, she opened it in one swift motion, I had gotten one myself, and we clinked bottles together.
“Too good marriages and better honeymoons,” Emily chirped, “and to endless babies that will fill the house with their dirty diapers and destructive cries.”
“I guess so…” I said taking a quick swig from my bottle, Rex looked lifted his head up looking around and then went back to sleep.
“It’s so peaceful out here, I almost feel like it will never end, look at all those endless waves going on forever” Emily commented.
“Yeah, that’s how Shire Key always is; told you it was pretty worth it when I booked the place for you and Steve” I replied.
“Yeah, me and Steve…” she blurted out, I looked at her and could see that reflective, thoughtful look scribbled on her face, I knew Emily quite well, and this was the look she gave when she was thinking deeply about something.
“Emily… we’re both married now, Stevie is a nice guy, and you fully know that it would be wrong to break his heart” I said without looking at her.
“Yeah, I love him, you know; he’s smart, funny, intelligent and handsome I should be telling myself that I’m lucky to have him, but then I don’t feel that way, it feels bad. “I never really wanted to get married, but you know how my family is; Marriage is a really big deal –like some compulsory rite, I had no choice, and you know it.”
I just kept silent, and there was actually nothing I could say; my mouth felt dry, I took another swig of the Bud I had almost exhausted the first bottle, and there was still about four left in the pack.
“Remember when we were in our final year?” Emily asked, “Just before I took the ACS appointment?”
“Uh-huh…” I grunted I could remember that year well, it had been one of the most exciting years of Emily’s life and mine of course, and we were about becoming graduates, so we were pretty excited.
“Did you know one of your so-called frat boys; Drew Michigan asked me out?” she giggled when she said this as if it was a crazy joke.
“Did he? Well Drew was a pretty handsome guy, and he was a quarterback for Forsyth College Football team, talk about being handsome and popular” I replied, my bottle was by now quite empty, so I reached for another bottle.
“Wanna go for a bit of exploring?” I asked pointing at the white-water raft which was not too far off from us.
“Is that a way of telling me not to press on about the subject?” she asked looking at me quite morbidly.
“Not really, I’m just getting rather tipsy so why can’t we just do something crazy before we finally head back to our old lives?” I asked.
“Well, why the hell not?” she finally agreed, and we both stood up from the folding chair and approached the raft which was just at the very end of the beach, water swept back and forth as we walked towards it and I could suddenly feel Emily’s fingers snaked around mine.
The raft was made of PVC, and even though it looked shaggy and worn out, we managed to push it forward into the water, I found that it became rather inflatable as soon as it hit the white waters which were starting to increase in current flow.
We both got on the raft and paddled fast against the oncoming current which sort of threatened to overturn us, but we were determined – this must have been due to having drunk so many Buds, it must have clouded our judgment because the current had only grown stronger.
“The water current is becoming too strong don’t you think we should get back?” Emily suggested, I could hear the tone of fear in her voice but I wasn’t one bit afraid, it wasn’t my first time of water rafting, so I was pretty confident of my paddling skills.
Maneuvering through the rapid water currents which seemed almost to throw us off the raft was quite tricky, but we somehow managed through, and we paddled on until we got to a path where the currents were a bit calm.
“It’s so beautiful…” Emily said looking on fixedly at the wide open sea which we had paddled out to.
“Not half as beautiful as you” I responded and kissed her softly on the lips, she shivered a bit and held me tightly, but I pulled myself away from her.
“But this – can’t go on Emily, and I know that you understand that it’s actually for the best” I whispered silently into her ear, and she only sighed heavily.
A long silence descended on us as we paddled back on the raft to shore on Shire Key, it had been the only way to express my sadness at my new chosen lifestyle, and I could only hope that Emily would understand.