Past Future

Miami synthwave, vaporwave

The smell of the sea came in off the water. They sat around a white tablecloth, on the porch of Ran’s house. Alli had put out the long, silver candlesticks. Beyond the wooden railing, tufts of beach grass flailed in the wind.

A full moon rose in the east, a crisp, silver disk floating in the pink and cyan haze, the end of another perfect summer day. Ran came out in a dress shirt holding a Merlot and two wine glasses aloft.

As they nursed the glasses, the orb of the sun slipped below their view. The evening’s last seagulls landed and pecked away at sand dollars.

They had spent the afternoon combing the beach with a metal detector, found in the basement of Ran’s house – just looking for old coins. Their search yielded an assortment of beer bottle-caps and a rusted bottle opener, “Courtesy of the patrons of some party,” Ran said.

Alli brought out the baked chicken and Ran got the baguette. She had bought the loaf at Maison Kayser, before they had left the city this morning. She cut some for the meal and broke her portion in half.

Turning the stem of her wine glass, Alli watched rabbits bound in and out of the dune grass. “What do you think about checking out the abandoned house, by the inlet?” she asked.

“Can we bring our metal detector?” Ran joked.

“Sure,” Alli laughed, “Electronic thermometers for cold spots. Radar guns. Infrared goggles. Anything.”

The last vestiges of the sun had disappeared. Only red light remained. “One day, I will teach you how to surf,” Ran said, looking out at the waves.

“Night surfing too?” Alli grinned.

Ran looked back at her, “Whatever you want.”

They cleared away the plates, folded up the tablecloth, retreated inside to the retro, floral-print couch. “Festive,” Alli remarked, “When did you get this?”

“Maybe five years ago,” Ran mused, “A going-out-of-business clearance sale.”

They sat down and watched cable on the ancient wooden set Ran had rigged up to play today’s TV. She had gutted it, cleaned out the old parts, and put the pieces of a new TV into the old case, “New wine in old skins,” Ran had explained. It still worked.

The glare of the TV shone into the night, as breakers crashed onto the shore.

so '90s


Seapony – “Blue Star”

R.E.M. – “Crush with Eyeliner”

Control the Dream

Fuji Elsa-wave

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