The Shore Line by David Mohan
Editor Matty Byloos, Fiction, December 25th, 2013
The beach had seemed all wrong that day...
It was blustery. She watched a woman turn to chase her hat as it rolled across the beach. The sand was glazed with what was reflected there—passing clouds.
She walked off the crest of a dune into the zone of beach where the wind began to hit you. She wouldn’t walk for long—just enough to melt away the stuffiness of the car.
And she wouldn’t do a lap of the beach like she had with him that day. It had been a very different sort of day. Dead calm. Evening. Like the end of something before it even begins. And now the wind was sailing people’s hats off their heads like irrepressible kites.
They had walked for an hour or so. He wanted to see the long curve of the beach. The view of mountains across the bay. Afterwards, they had kissed. But she couldn’t relax. His beard scratched her face.
The beach had seemed all wrong that day. The mood had been back to front, post-coital. They had walked to a line, the frilled shore line, then turned and walked the dunes. She had dozed in the heat of his car afterwards. When she opened her eyes they were driving along a skirt of wild sea.
Now, she walked across the wet sand. She remembered things opening—doors to their hotel room; her blouse; his shirt; their mouths. They lay across the bed, and it seemed that the moon came up in a moment. Time unspooled and light folded across the view of fields outside. The weekend turned over.
Now, she took off her shoes. She wanted to feel something as she walked, wet her toes a little. That weekend flew away from her before she could grasp it. Other weekends followed in succession like lights viewed from a train. She saw them loom and diminish, becoming more brilliant before they faded. She saw his face less and less until the view shifted into darkness.
She strolled beside the cool grief of miles of sea. Wrung-out waves.
As she walked she imagined herself a widow. You saw them in documentaries on television. Burning on pyres, tearing their hair out from the roots.
Not her style.
She was more the sort who walked to the edge of water and sprinkled something as a remembrance. It could be anything—a torn up letter, a train ticket-stub. The point was that it would be torn into pieces, then scattered on the water until they dissolved into nothing.
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David Mohan has work forthcoming in or has been published in Necessary Fiction, Word Riot, Opium, SmokeLong Quarterly, FRiGG, Contrary, elimae, NANO and The Chattahoochee Review. He has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize.