by Sana Hameed, Age 15, USA
Artwork by Lucy Zhang
The fiction prompt for December was “light.”
Ray sat, head aching, eyes red with sleepless nights, looking at the tumultuous waves smacking the sands. Flashes of gold light flooded the skies, carving a path through the darkness every few seconds, signalling to passing ships. They gave him something to think about when he didn’t want to think about anything else.
He had plenty of topics he didn’t want to touch that night as he sat with a coffee mug in one hand and his pulsing heart in the other. It had been brutally ripped from his chest by his wife that afternoon. The divorce papers had come in the mail, and he refused to look at them. To see her signing off on the thirty years they had spent together would surely break him. Her delicate hand had pruned in his palm, but he had treated it like a treasure over the course of their relationship because she sported his ring on her finger.
He heard a deep voice from behind him. “Having trouble in paradise as well, my friend?” Ray recognized the voice’s owner as Roscoe, a younger man and dedicated fisherman. His copper hair made him a beacon on the docks, easy to sight.
Ray felt the urge to ignore him until he admitted softly, “Me too.”
Before he could utter another word, Roscoe blurted out, “She wants to leave here. Move somewhere bigger, better.”
“She’s ambitious.” Ray surmised aloud, and Roscoe nodded helplessly.
“But the sea is my life. I can’t bring myself to leave.” Roscoe stared at the turning tide, and Ray could see himself twenty years ago in the poor, confused man. He had been faced with a similar conundrum, but he had forced Maggie to see reason. He had forced her to stay because he cherished the lights, the sea, the nights when life could be forgotten or lost to the waters. She resented him for it, just as Roscoe’s bride would if he made the same mistake.
“You both want different things. The line might seem cliché, but it’s true. Don’t make her give up her chance for this place. It’ll only lead to more heartbreak. The sea will be here when you come back,” Ray said honestly.
“It’s all about choosing what you love more, isn’t it?” Roscoe said bitterly.
“I chose wrong. And I regret it. I try to distract myself with this, but I crave her company. I’ll let go of her legally, sign the papers like she wants, but I’ll always want the companionship.”
“Well, for now, I’ll just have to do,” Roscoe joked.
The two talked for hours until the sun rose and they both realized that they were time had come for goodbyes. While Roscoe packed his bags to leave the shore, to say goodbye to the life he had loved, Ray prepared himself for another sleepless night, looking at the tumultuous waves smacking the sands.
Sana Hameed is a young writer often inspired by photographs.