The sun is a blinding backdrop for the picture. It grabs hold of the sand, twisting against it, pulling it down and reflecting it back tenfold. It’s just a little beach, this cut out scar on the land, wedged between the rolling waves of the ocean and the white washed stone precipice behind them.
A few birds have built their nests into the stone. Darius took pictures of them earlier in the day, back when there were still a few others wandering around.
By now, everyone has just sort of vanished. Darius and Jamie are the only ones around; this entire beautiful beach, and it’s just for them, just for the two of them.
“Jamie! Look this way!” Darius holds up the camera and snaps off a few fast pictures.
Jamie, his girlfriend, laughs. She’s wearing a strapless top. The bright blue accentuates her warm brown eyes. “Stop that! I thought you said that you were done with pictures?”
“I said I was done with taking pictures of the beach,” answers Darius, with a laugh of his own. “But you? Baby, you’re an entirely different story! I could do nothing but take pictures of you all day.”
“Flattery won’t get you anywhere,” scolds Jamie. She spins around on one heel. Her toes churn up clumps of wet sand. It clings to her lower legs and the tops of her feet.
Darius insists, “I’m not trying to get anywhere!”
But Jamie has already taken off, running into the low tide. Gentle waves lap at her feet. White crests rise up into the distance, bleeding out into the sky. It makes the entire world seem a bit more fantastical than it should. A sea born breeze picks up, twisting Jamie’s hair over her shoulder. She looks back at him, eyes twinkling, the most natural sort of beauty that Darius has ever seen.
She looks back at him, and she says, “Are you really going to just spend all day standing there with the camera?”
“Not all day,” insists Darius. The camera hisses and clicks in his hands. This is one of those days that could have come right out of a story book – the sort that no one will believe if they don’t see it first. “Just long enough to make sure we don’t forget.”
“This,” says Darius. “Us. Being here, with you.”
Jamie’s smile softens, some of the playfulness bleeding out of her visage. She’s standing almost knee deep in the water now. “Is your memory that bad?”
“It might be in a few years from now. You never know,” says Darius. “But I’d rather be certain that we had something to look back on, later.”
“A few years from now?”
“Yeah. You know – after we’ve both gone gray!” Darius laughs, finally lowering the camera. He finds a relatively dry place to sit it down, stripping off his shirt and using it to keep sand from getting into any of the crevices.
Jamie says, “I’d rather have memories of swimming with you to look back on. Hurry up, Darius!”
“I’m coming, I’m coming!” He waves his hands through the air, but takes his time getting into the water. It’s cold against his skin but Jamie is very warm when he wraps his arms around her waist.
A few years – a few centuries – a few decades – however much time they’re given to spend with each other, that’s the same amount of memories that he hopes to have.
Written by Katelynn E Koontz