Raindrops in the sea. Ghosts of mist and clouds floated out to the horizon, into the black night. The rain threw up little explosions of sand on the beach, constantly washed away by the waves. The sky was the color of slate, streaked with pewter, like a block of marble.
It was a warm rain; the gusts were controlled and mild. The palm trees sashayed in the wind, their fronds leaning back and forth, water sliding off the resin on their leaves. Ran and Alli watched this vista from the hardwood patio of Ran’s cabana. Their perspective was framed by the posts of the porch and thatch sticking out from the roof, providing a dry patch of sand for them to burrow their toes in.
Ran’s boat was moored in front of them, lashed to a log standing in the water, near the dock. They had covered it in blue tarpaulin, before the rain started, as the wind was chasing the clouds and covering up the moon.
They stared at the rain, their pants’ feet rolled up over their ankles. The boat lolled up and down in the water from another shore. Rocks and sand were carried out to sea, caught on currents meant for somewhere else.
Alli glanced at Ran’s yellow, fiberglass surfboard, leaning against the cabana façade, and said, “So, you surf too?”
“Yes, since I was a teenager,” Ran said, watching the darkness and leaning on her knees.
“Is that why you came out here?” Alli asked.
“Somewhat,” Ran answered. She turned to Alli, still hugging her knees, “Why did you come out here?”
“Well, Xen invited me out here,” Alli said. She crossed her arms and leaned on her knees also. She sunk her toes deeper into the cool sand. The rain pelted a smaller island, farther out at sea.
Ran turned and looked back at her feet, “You said I reminded you of someone. Who?”
Alli looked at Ran, “A friend from high school.”
“Is she still your friend?”
“Yes,” Alli said. She looked out over the gray water. A streak of lightning flashed, illuminating the distant island.
The rain picked up and it became colder, the dampness seeping under the thatch roof. They shifted together now, for warmth, yet still left a space between them – two hedgehogs in the downpour.
“What do you do?” Alli asked.
Ran smiled, crossed arms holding heat to her chest, “I work in a surf shop, of course. But I also write fiction. I wrote one novel that sold well, while I was still in college, but I haven’t been able to follow it up since. I just write short stories and book reviews now.”
“What was your book about?” Alli wondered.
Ran turned to Alli now, “The tendrils of love that still linger.”
“Romance, huh?” Alli said.
“Yes. I guess it just caught the zeitgeist of the age. Nostalgia for Generation X, or Y – or something,” Ran said. She looked back at her toes.
Alli moved so that her shoulder touched Ran’s. The thunder growled out beyond the tiny island, buffeted by the sea, lone palm tree swaying in the gathering gale.
豊平区民TOYOHIRAKUMIN – 夕暮れsunset
Chopin – Impromptu, Op. 29, in F-Sharp
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