April slipped off her sandals, enjoying the feel of the warm white sand between her toes. The beach was nearly empty, except for a few neighbors enjoying the last rays of evening sun. She smiled and waved at the Herrings—a retired couple who lived next door.
In the opposite direction, Mike and Janet Parsons sat holding hands as they watched their four-year-old twins playing in the sand. April acknowledged them, but hurried by, haunted by painful memories of Brad and of the children that never were.
She and Brad once walked together along this beach, arm-in-arm, sharing their hopes and dreams. Then, life happened. Three pregnancies, three miscarriages. It put a strain on their marriage and Brad moved out.
“We both need some space,” he had said, “and time to think this through.”
Whatever happened to ‘until death do us part?’ Had he truly loved her, or was the love conditional on her bearing his children?
She walked to a secluded spot and sat down in the sand, allowing the waves wash over her feet. She gazed at the endless panorama of the ocean, wishing she could forget her problems.
Yet she knew the time had come to face her situation. Either Brad loved her and wanted to remain together or he didn’t. It was time for him to decide. She’d had enough of him stringing her along. He had been gone for six months and that was long enough.
She would call him tomorrow. “It’s now or never,” she would say. “I need to get on with my life, either with you or without you.”
With a newfound resolve, she rose and began walking back to the beach house. Twilight had settled in. The Parsons were gathering their things and calling to the twins to follow them inside. The Herrings had already retired to their deck, as they did most evenings.
A man walked along the white sands toward her. A stranger? Maybe someone new to the neighborhood? No, there was something familiar… Could it be? Dare she hope?
The person came nearer. What was he doing here? Had he come home? Home to stay?
She walked closer. Brad held out his arms.
For those of you who have followed Allison’s story, I haven’t forgotten her. Summer is a busy time with vacations and I’ve been hard at work on the edits to Unseen Motives. I’ll get back to Allison, Jonah, Henry, and of course Cooper in the next few weeks.
This month’s Friday Fiction is a short story I wrote almost four years ago. It’s different than the stories I usually write, but I hope you enjoy it.