by Kathryn McBride

He caught up to her outside, lit her cigarette before his own. They stood close, silent at first, keeping warm beneath the glow of the marquee.

“Do you remember our first apartment?”

Waikiki Beach Silhouettes at Sunset

Andy via Creative Commons

She thought for a moment, “Of course. The tiny cottage by the beach.”

“It was tiny, wasn’t it? The kitchen was practically in our bedroom.”

“Didn’t matter to us then. Remember the smell of the ocean?”

“We’d leave the windows open every day, that salty breeze billowing through the sheers.”

“That’s how the stray cat got in.”

“But never left. Windows wide open, she chose to stay.”

“Tell me what else you remember.”

“Lazy nights tangled up in bed. Tasting moonlight on your shoulders. And you?”

“Waves crashing against the shore. Making love with the ebb and flow of the tide.”

“In time, the sea’s rhythm kept pace with the ebb and flow of us. Our love changed an ocean.”

Inside the lobby, the lights dimmed twice. She left their cottage first. At the bar, she took her husband’s arm and disappeared into the theatre. The stranger watched her go, fed the cat, closed the windows. Once inside, he returned to the stage, still brushing sand from his feet as the curtain parted.


Kathryn McBrideKathryn McBride is the author of an anthology of short stories currently featured in a boxed set (literally a set of boxes) under her bed. She is delighted to finally let them see the light of day. She welcomes feedback and craft beer suggestions @finishwhatyou.

Pacifica OceanFriday night in the suburbs, a small family puts their lone daughter to bed and sits down to watch some recorded television and pay the bills. My wife and I exchange silent looks. Remember when Fridays used to be fun? the look says. Out loud, she sighs, “I could really use a beach getaway.” Practicality being what it is, we can’t afford a long trip or the time off. The bills stare at me, gluey tongues mocking from windowed envelopes, tangible reminders of the cruel taskmaster named responsibility.

“Let me see what I can do,” I say. Life, it’s said, is for living.

We get going later on Saturday than I expect. There’s a stop for lunch, a stop at a department store for some beach towels and sunscreen, traffic on the highways. But the hotel is pleasant, overlooking the waves, even if the highway in between drowns the noise of the surf. We don’t get to the shore until almost five, but it’s summer and time is on our side.

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