Tag Archives: story

Two Wolves

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Tears of an Angel

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Being the lover of dance that I am, I have definitely been keeping up with the latest season of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance.  Unlike last season, I haven’t been posting my favorites from each night because I felt like I wanted to only post the dances that left me wanting more, left me thinking, and left me in love with the routine.  Last week’s group dance to “Tears of an Angel” choreographed by Bonnie Story did just that.  The concept behind the dance is a powerful one about bullying and I think the dancers themselves did their part in doing the choreography and the song justice by putting their souls into the dance.  I honestly just loved this dance and I had to share it with you all.  Enjoy.

Playa Santa

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Playa Santa, or Holy Beach, is no more than a twenty minute drive south of my hometown in Puerto Rico.  Parking is easy to find, being that spots aren’t marked by white paint, but are decided by the driver’s opinion on which patch of sandy grass is the most convenient.  As long as you don’t park on the road that might be occupied by green iguanas the size of small cats or past the point where the grass stops growing and the beach begins, then any spot is yours for the taking.

The sandy shore separating the eco-friendly parking lot from the calm, clear water stretches no further than thirty yards and is surrounded by palm trees.  It is a quaint, familiar getaway, nothing like the perfect oceanfront view at the Hilton in the island’s capital of San Juan.  Here, I don’t have to look for an unattended plastic beach chair or avoid the masses of tourists, while the obnoxious honking of city life driving is miles away.  I can sit on the damp sand with my bare feet buried underneath the grinded up grains of grey, white, and cream colored rocks and sea shells in peace.

The occasional twig the length of a finger surfaces between my toes, becoming a drawing tool in the sand.  With every hand motion, the path of my twig swirls around leaving lines and circles that flow with the light waves I hear in front of me.  If I dig too deeply, its tip is buried by a miniscule avalanche of sand, but, if my indent is too soft, then the hot breeze erases any marks I made.  It’s a craft that takes some practice, but this practice is always cut short by critters that don’t enjoy others remodeling their homes.

I’ve found that making sand art mostly leads to an encounter with a few electric ants.  The tiny fire ants, known on the island as abayardes, are not much bigger than a grain of sand, but their bright golden color is enough to warn against their brutally painful stings.  Once when I was six years old, I tested the six legged bug and didn’t move away as it rushed toward me past the flower I had just drawn in the sand.  The heat that erupted throughout my leg was memorable enough for me to never challenge the electric ant again and be thankful that they are not found in the U.S.  Instead, I usually take the arrival of the abayarde as my cue to leave the sand alone and move into the water.

Within a few paces, my bare feet coated in a weak armor of sand sink into the warm water of the Caribbean Sea.  They don’t disappear, just fade as the rays of the pastel yellow sun illuminate the underwater world below my waist.  Clouds of sand, light reflecting sea shells, and guppies can’t hide from the bright star as I look beneath me.  My arms sway like I’m trying to make a snow angel on the surface of the water and I watch as the ripples that mimic my movements fight against the flow of waves that always seem to win the battle.

The sea is endless and peaceful.  Aside from the shoreline behind me, there is no land in sight and the horizon seems to be the point where the light blue water melts into the light blue sky above.  The thin, white clouds are scarce and their choppy edges seem to reflect the foamy white waves of the sea that form with the winds.  The sandy shore tries to imitate the bright hue of the sun, but the noon position of the star directly above has no competitors in dominance.

The only thing that the sky doesn’t have is the greenery that borders the stillness of the land.  Aside from the palm trees and the grass that scatters throughout the sandy dirt in the parking lot, mangroves peak into the water and cling to the land, making the sky envious of Puerto Rico’s lush, green colors.  The green colors that, in my mind, paint the shapes of the island from the sun’s perspective.  The dark green tops the mountains in the center of the island, while the rainbow of green shades mark where El Yunque rainforest is in the northeast.  The light green hue lets the sun know when the shore is about to begin and the sky can meet Puerto Rico on the horizon once again.

But, it’s the song of the coquí, a tree frog smaller than the size of a thumb, that makes my home better than any tourist attraction.  For a long time, the coquí frogs could only survive in Puerto Rico and their songs lulled natives to sleep every night, me being one of them.  Now, the small amphibians can be heard in other parts of the world, but the songs aren’t loved like they are on my island.  Not even San Juan, which has become the vacation getaway for tourists, appreciates the songs of the coquí anymore.  But to say that the high-pitched sounds of the coquí frogs are annoying is worse than sinning to a Christian.  After a long day of soaking in the water, being warmed by the sun, and feeling the breeze on my face, the song of the coquí is what truly makes me feel at home.

The pink sun begins to melt, disappearing into the ocean’s edge, the green trees darken to a shade closer to black, and the breeze gets chilly, but the coquí song makes the fading scene remain peaceful and unchanging.  It’s the coquí that make this beach holy as if they were sharing monk chants and choir songs.  Without the whistling of the frogs, this beach would be like any other distant shore that hasn’t been blessed by the amphibians.  I watch the day turn to night at playa Santa completely at peace until I fall asleep.  The frogs’ melodies are like a prayer over me that let me know I’m safe at home.

Unsealed Lips

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He was lying down on his bed with one arm behind his head.  He had one knee up with his weight on his left foot, while his right leg extended out to the end of the queen size mattress.  I was kneeling beside him with a pillow on my lap as I watched his fingers trace the pattern on his sheets.  His index finger followed the interlocking circles that crossed over countless lines.  Watching him seemed much more interesting than paying attention to the blue glow from the TV.  From time to time, I played with the pull strings of my hoodie and my toes curled in my black socks.  He didn’t do much except smirk and shift his glance from the lines on his sheets to my face then back to the sheets.

The anticipation was growing within me.  I couldn’t tell if these glances would stop moving and just stay on me or if his fingers would move away from the stagnant pattern toward my hands.  I wasn’t sure if he would voice what we both knew or if he would just act like nothing was going on.  I waited, letting him talk for an hour or so about his jerk of a professor and how we should go snowboarding for a weekend until the moment of silence between our words destroyed what little patience and reservations I had left.  I could no longer hold it in and I had to say what I felt.

“You know I really hate Becca for everything that she’s done,” before I even realized I was speaking, the words were out and there was no way I could pull them back into my sea of thoughts.

He looked at me and his fingers stopped moving.  This time his glance stayed on me and I was the one who was shifting focus between my pull strings and his eyes.

“Where did that come from?  Like, what do you mean?” he asked with his eyes still stuck on me.

This time there was a moment of hesitation on my part.  I was trying to gather my thoughts.  I was trying to not compromise myself or at least not sound crazy, but, again, my emotions took over and I lost control of what my lips were saying.

“Well, I mean she cheated on you and you didn’t deserve that.  You were nothing but a good boyfriend to her and while you’re handing her roses, she’s hooking up with some random guy who she probably doesn’t even talk to anymore.  It just pisses me off that she did that to you when she knew you loved her.  The least she could’ve done was break up with you before any of that happened.”

My last few words trailed off into a mumble as I started to think that I said way too much.   I was trying to figure out if I could just shut up or if it was time for me to go home, but I came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be right for me to just drop this bomb on him and then walk away, so I stayed with my feet still curled underneath me on the bed.  I was proud of myself for containing my words for the next thirty seconds, but what he said next just set off another series of thoughts that I simply could not bottle up.

He simply responded by saying “It’s whatever.  I mean I don’t really care about her anymore.”  He was now looking back down at the lines on his sheets, but his fingers weren’t moving.

“I know you don’t care about her anymore.  I’m not saying you’re still in love with the girl, but you can’t tell me that what she did didn’t hurt you.  Seriously?  You cannot tell me that you have ever been able to trust and love a girl like you did with her before she did what she did.  Even if you don’t have feelings for her anymore, what you went through with her still affects how you act now.”

“I guess, but I don’t really think about it, so I don’t really know.”

“You don’t really think about it?  Or you just don’t talk about it?”

My eyes were now looking straight at him and I don’t think I could’ve turned away even if I wanted to.  He hesitated to speak.  The struggle going on between his thoughts and feelings was all over his face.  His fingers couldn’t even correctly trace the lines on his sheets anymore and he seemed to be trying to pay attention to the muted commercials.  His silence gave me the courage to keep on talking.

“I’m not trying to upset you or bring up things from the past, but I know you’re not happy.   Whether you want to admit it or not, I know you want to find somebody who you feel you can actually commit to, but you’re scared.  She scared the hell out of you, so much that you won’t let any girl near you again.  Whenever you think you might have found the right girl, Becca just pops into your head and you start to wonder if this new girl is just gonna do the same thing to you.  And, honestly, I don’t even think you give the girls you meet a serious chance.  I think you just look at a girl and automatically assume that they’re going to cheat on you or play with you or whatever, so you just play with them until you get bored.  And I hate that she did that to you.  I hate that what she did still affects you like that because you deserve to be with someone who loves you and who wants to love you.  Someone who makes you happy and wants to see you happy.  Becca screwed you over and she screwed over the rest of us girls that have to pay for what she did to you.”

I felt that last sentence roll off of my tongue and I wanted to pull it back so bad, but it was too late.  He was already propped up on the bed focused on me.

“I agree that Becca made me lose a lot of trust in girls.  I don’t think I’ve been able to blindly believe in a person like I did before I met her.  And I think it’s true what you said that I don’t take my relationships with girls seriously, but I think it’s more because I don’t think they take me seriously.  I don’t think the girls I’ve dated after Becca have proven to me that they deserve my respect, which is why I don’t care about them.  I could care less about how they feel if I don’t call them or if I don’t take them out on dates because, if they’re not putting in any real effort to be my girlfriend, I shouldn’t go out of my way to be a good boyfriend to them.  You know what I’m saying?”

I nodded my head in agreement.  At this point, all I could do was listen to what he had to say.  I had never heard him express himself so much about his relationships and I wasn’t about to jeopardize that.  I had to let him keep talking.

“And, you know, I don’t think it’s true what you said about me pushing away all the girls I care about and you of all people should know that because you know that you’re the girl I respect the most and the only girl I care about.  You’re the only person who I will always text back, no matter what.  The only person who I will stay up for, even if we’re just watching TV or talking on the phone or doing whatever.  You’re the only girl who has been able to make me feel nothing for Becca and that whole situation.  I swear to you, if you hit me up in the middle of the night saying I need you for whatever reason I would be wherever you were in a heartbeat.  You wouldn’t even have to ask me twice.

“And if I never said any of this before it’s because I don’t want to lose you.  I don’t want to tell you that I’m head over heels for you and then you not feel the same way and then have our whole friendship get awkward, but I feel like you were straight up with me just now and you showed me that you care about me enough to say something about it, so the least I can do is be honest with you, too.  So right now, I’m telling you that I want to be with you… and I don’t mean like how I was with those other girls.  I want you to be my girlfriend and I want to take care of you and I want to make you happy because you make me happy and I just want to love you.”

As he spoke, I couldn’t help but smile and I could feel the blood rushing to my cheeks and my heart pounding faster.  I was definitely grateful for the poor lighting in his room right now.  My stomach tickled with a mix of astonishment and excitement, while his arms were flying all over the place with every word that he was trying to get me to understand.

At the end of it all, he let out a silent sigh as if he was literally relieved to have said everything he had been feeling for so long.  With the sigh he looked down into nothing, but then looked up at me almost immediately like a child waiting for his punishment.  For once, I was at a loss for words.  There were no thoughts running out of my mouth and no emotions jumping through my voice, but I had to respond to him.  I couldn’t just leave him hanging.  If I did, he might get the impression that I didn’t feel the same way and just when I thought my emotions left me on my own, they took the reins and answered for me.

My hands moved closer to his and they found their way up his arms and around his neck.  My legs scooted toward him until there was nowhere else for me to go.  His arms wrapped around me, welcoming me onto his lap.  Our eyes stayed locked and a smile flashed across his face just before my lips finally gave my silent response.  Apparently, he liked my answer.

I Can’t Run Anymore

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The raindrops are pounding on every part of my body like bullets and my clothes are soaking wet, sticking to every limb like a second layer of skin.  I can’t tell if this is because of the torrential rain coming down on me or because of the unusually large amount of sweat that my body is releasing with every step I take.  All of the sounds around me are being drowned out by the gushing wind blowing past me.  The blistering wind and the heavy rain in no way make my eyes burn less, making me struggle that much more.  My muscles feel like they are going to tear right through my skin if I go any further.  It seems like everything is against me, but somehow my legs keep pounding against the track, causing a harsh ripple through every nerve.

It’s lacrosse season and if I don’t make the team you can consider me dead.  Last year, I was the goalie.  Of course, there were others, but I was the only one that mattered.  We were undefeated the whole first half of the season and our competitors could never score on us.  I wonder why that was?  Everyone wanted to be me and I felt sorry for those who weren’t me.  That team needed me, even when I thought I didn’t need that team at all.

We went on to our county finals and, in the final minute of the game, the score was tied, zero to zero.  The ball was in their possession and, if they scored, the game was over and so would be our season.  Some lanky kid with shaggy blonde hair started running straight toward me, cradling the ball with an intensity I knew all too well.  Next thing I knew, I made a bold move that I regret every day since that last spring game.  I ended up utterly destroying my ankle in ways I had no idea was possible as the white ball sped past me into the net. My reward for once having been the best goalie at my school was an entire summer of friendship with a cast.

Now, here I am, after three months of not working out, struggling to get through conditioning that a year ago I could’ve done in my sleep.  As I run, I’m trying to give myself motivation.  “Come on, Brady!  You did this three years in a row without even breaking a sweat.  You even helped coach put this set together.”  I repeat this over and over again, or at least that’s what I’m trying to do.  Instead, all I can think about is how coach hung his head low under his cap as the opposing team celebrated their win.  As soon as that thought’s gone, I remember how Jeff and Rich are the ones to thank for informing the entire school about how I lost the game.  But, then again, I’m mostly not thinking at all.  The pain shooting up through my body is the main thing clouding my mind.

Every step feels like a thousand needles are being stabbed into every square inch of my legs.  I could swear that my bones are currently piercing through the balls of my feet and rubbing against the black tar.  My back aches as if I slept on a bed of seashells and my padding isn’t helping, making my body sorer by the second.  I think I could be on fire and I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between that and my current situation.

But I know that if I don’t perform now, I will never get another chance to.  My life as an athlete will be over.  My life will be over because that’s all I am, an athlete.  Yes, I am an athlete.  I say it over and over again in my head until my mind finally begins to function again.  I am an athlete and I get it now.  A real athlete knows struggle.  That’s how they persevere and succeed.  That’s how they stay hungry for every win and every title.  I am an athlete and this is my struggle and now it’s time for me to move past it, until this defeat becomes my past.

A quarter of a mile lies ahead of me and it definitely looks more like a whole mile, but I had to remind myself that it wouldn’t be the end of me.  Rather than saying I can’t run anymore, I tell myself that I have no choice.  I have no choice, but to finish what I started.  I have no choice but to live through my struggle.  I have no choice, but to be who I am, an athlete.

Our Summer of 1903- Part 2

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“Mia dear, wake up,” whispered a sweet sounding voice over top of me.

I opened my eyes and the sunset on the horizon was no longer visible.  I could not see any beach houses and Tony no longer embraced me in his arms.  Instead, I awoke to Janice leaning over me.  Her large baby blue eyes peered down at me, while her pin straight black hair sharply framed her face.  Her vibrant red lips held back, waiting to see if another gentle alarm would be needed.  Since my first day in Paris, Janice had stuck by my side and had helped me with nearly every aspect of my life to the point where she became my assistant.  It was thanks to her that I was on time to anything and prepared for everything.

I laid on the chase for a moment more, processing, within seconds, all that was around me.  To my left against the wall was a large mirror surrounded by lights that was the source of any brightness in sight.  A vanity table and bench sat just in front of it, anticipating my arrival with an array of make-up for me to choose from.  In the far corner of the room stood a wardrobe that was not even fully shut due to the overflow of embroidered corset-like tops and perfectly shaped tutus.  Hanging on the back of the door, directly ahead, was a schedule of the show, including everything from wardrobe changes and intermission to every stage direction.

My eyes blinked in confusion and a bit of grogginess, so Janice’s lips took the cue to a second warning, “Darling, if you don’t wake up soon you won’t be ready in time for your performance.”

I, then, came to the realization that everything I felt a few moments ago was just a memory from the past that came to life in only my dreams.  In reality, I was backstage in my dressing room and I had a show in fifteen minutes that I hadn’t even begun to get dressed for.

I left Long Island for Europe just after my summer with Tony to study ballet and pursue a career as a true ballerina.  I never spoke to Tony after our short time together, though I recently began seeing his photos in publications all over Europe.  I saw everything from his modern photos to pictures that I recognized of the beach that saw our love flourish.  I always noticed them and I always saved them, keeping them tucked away to avoid too much nostalgia.

Although throughout the few years that had passed I had entertained a few prospects, they never felt as rich and pure as my love with Tony.  I was sure it would be a while till I got that feeling back, but now I could only be happy for Tony.  He was doing what he loved as was I.  Upon graduating from the academy, I began to get offers on roles in the latest ballet productions.  My most recent job was as the lead in “Giselle,” a revival Paris had been waiting for.

As I got up, I looked to my side and noticed a bouquet of white irises, my favorite flowers, sitting on the vanity.  Ever since I had begun performing in real productions, I received one bouquet each night of a show.  There was never a note, leaving no hint as to who they were from.  Although I couldn’t be sure, those flowers always brought me back to that summer with Tony.  I could smell the garden on the side of my parents’ beach house and I could feel Tony delicately placing a freshly picked white iris into my hand.  Since that day, the white iris was my preferred flower without a doubt.

As usual, I admired the flowers, softly touching the edge of each petal and taking in the subtle scent that filled the air.  They were perfect as always, though this time the bouquet was not the same as its past brothers.  This time the bouquet carried a note.  I quickly opened the small, gold envelope and it read “I told you so” and nothing else.  An array of fantasies and ideas rapidly took over my thoughts and I was left in utter confusion.  What did this mean?  Were they from Tony?  Had he been my secret admirer this whole time?  How could they be from Tony?  Did he even still remember me?

But, suddenly, a tender reminder from Janice swiftly interrupted my solitary interrogation, “Ten minutes, my dear.”

I was then forced to forget my deepest wishes and I came back to reality.  I changed into my costume, stretched as much as I could, and before I knew it I was center stage dancing out my excitement.  The music soon ended and the curtains were closing before my eyes.  That’s how it always happened.  My performance came and left, faster than a snapshot.  At least, that’s how I always felt it happened.  The wardrobe changes, the applause, the rush all became a blur during and after each performance.

Once my mind began to think clearly again, I was back in my dressing room, recollecting my energy, when I heard Janice’s voice again.

“My dear, don’t bother changing.  You’re needed on stage again.”

“Why?” I asked with confusion masking my face.

“Oh, I haven’t the slightest idea, but, by the looks of it, it’s only more good news for you,” she quickly responded with a sneaky smile over her lips.

As I walked back on stage, I could see the audience giving me a standing ovation through the blinding spotlights of the theatre.  I smiled and waved out of common courtesy.  On the stage, there was a man, Harold Grulier to be exact, the owner of the extraordinary venue.  From what I could see, the burly, blonde man was holding a plaque and some roses.  There was also a photographer just to his right with his face hidden behind every flash.

I stood next to Mr. Grulier with a combination of excitement, anticipation, and even hesitation.  I had no idea what this was all about, but I only wanted to get back to my newest bouquet of white irises and the mysterious golden note.  Harold began to speak in his deep, soothing voice.  I continued to smile and from time to time looked around out of pure boredom.

“It is with great pleasure that I stand before you all and speak to you of Mia Cartagena, the talented young dancer who has entertained us all.  Not long ago, she was unknown to perhaps all who stand before me, but in a matter…” he began.

As I zoned out from Mr. Grulier’s speech, it was then that I saw him.  I looked straight into his glistening green eyes and it was unmistakably him.  The photographer standing on stage was my Tony, whom I had lost track of so long ago.  My eyes traveled across his face and skin, examining his similarities and differences.  He looked the same, yet very different.  I could look into his eyes and still see my teenaged companion, but I could take one glance and tell that he was a man.  His jaw was much more defined, his stare much stronger, and his frame had grown with muscle, but I could still see his pure smirk and bashful blink through his definite transformations.

Tony moved toward me without saying a word.  For a brief moment, I thought he was going to take a picture, but instead he slipped an envelope into my hands that hung at my sides.  Confused, I accepted it, but did not dare to open it on stage.  I barely even looked down to see the white paper closing.  Tony stepped back and I was hurt that, after so much time, all I got was a silent envelope.  So many fantasies and dreams had been shattered by a reality that didn’t even resemble the closeness that the summer of 1903 was filled with.  Shortly after, Mr. Grulier gave me my plaque and I said my thanks.  I rushed back to my dressing room as I noticed Tony taking the opposite wing exit.  I had no interest in being in the spotlight any longer.

In my dressing room, I closed my door and clutched the envelope close to my chest.  I observed the envelope and it simply said my name, Mia.  Inside there was a note that said:  “I told you that you would make it as a prima ballerina.  I promised that I would never forget you just as I promised myself to never forget that summer.  I hope you liked the flowers.  I remembered they were your favorites.”  There was also something else in the envelope.  I took it out and there I was.  It was a picture of me dancing on the beach.  He had taken it the very same day I had just dreamt about.

By this point, my eyes were misty and my chest was pounding.  I felt like my heart had somehow doubled in weight as I leaned my head down into my body.  I could see the picture and the note.  I could feel the paper, but there was still doubt in my mind.  I’m not sure what exactly I was feeling, but I know I was overwhelmed.  Perhaps, I was just so happy to know that I was not the only one who lingered on such distant memories.  Perhaps, I bawled out of anger, wondering what took him so long.  The only fact I was sure of is that I soon heard a hesitant, but firm, knock on my door.

I opened it to find Tony standing right in front of me.  His eyes, a few inches above mine, were on the verge of tears, his hands trembled, and his lips longed for the strength to say something.  We were both in awe.  Within a few moments, we both reacted and took part in a long-awaited embrace, which followed with a kiss that I wish could’ve lasted an eternity.

I looked into his eyes and all I could utter was, “I loved the flowers.”

He stared back with a grin on his face and responded, “I’m glad you did.”

Our Summer of 1903- Part 1

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“Smile for the camera, Mia,” he said, standing above me and laughing the whole way.

“Oh, alright, but only because you’re excited about your new camera,” I responded, sweeping my long brown hair to one side for the so-called candid picture. “You know, when you become a famous photographer you better not forget that I was your first model.”

“I don’t know how I could, my lady,” he said extending one hand out to me and helping me up from the sandy shore.  Once I was up, he continued, “Besides, I think it will be hard to forget the world’s next prima ballerina.”

“Oh don’t be so silly.  I don’t appreciate you toying with my dreams, you know.”  My eyes lingered into his green stare and I couldn’t help but smile as I bashfully looked down.  With an unforced giggle and an excited skip ahead of him, I asked, “But since we’re talking about it, can you look at this routine I’ve been working on and tell me what you think?”

I began my dance to the music of the ocean and I could feel his eyes looking at me in admiration.  The sun’s heat surrounded me, while the sand on the shore brushed on and off my feet.  The wind and my movements moved harmoniously and, from the corner of my eye, I could see Tony snapping away with his new Kodak camera.  I had always loved dance, but it wasn’t until I danced for Tony that I found a real purpose for it.  He was an audience worth truly performing for.

Suddenly we heard, “Mia!  Tony!  Come eat dinner” coming from the distance.  It was my mother indirectly attempting to put our beach date to an end before the sun went down.  Obeying the far-away sounds, Tony and I grabbed our blanket and shoes and began our walk toward the luxurious beach house ahead.

It was the summer of 1903 and our families were on vacation in the Hamptons, where they owned a couple of beach houses.  My family’s home was purely wooden with a complete deck and a silhouette that reached three stories high.  Gardens surrounded the sides of our home that were overflowing with white irises, orange lilies, and yellow rose bushes.  In front of my all white home, sat my father’s all black Mercedes.  It was shiny as ever, simply waiting to be shown off.

Tony’s home was not much different from mine.  The biggest difference was that his family garden included blue sailors and his home was painted a pale yellow as opposed to our white.  Our summer homes were next door to each other, just a few yards apart, which can be credited for my inevitable first encounter with Tony.

I was on my way back from the rocks about a mile down the shore from my parents’ property and I was just shy of my fourteenth birthday.  My skin was just starting to bronze as it was only early June and the sun hadn’t yet had a proper chance to transform my shade.  The ocean breeze freed my long hair, letting it blow up and down, side to side.  In one hand, I held my shoes that I refused to get dirty from the sticky grains of sand and, with my other hand, I held up the hem of my dress.

My mind was wandering, ever-changing like the ocean water, when I noticed a pale dark-haired boy knee-deep in the rising tide.  He looked like he was no more than sixteen years old (he was actually fifteen, at the time) and was too entranced by his lens to notice the real world.  He was taking pictures of the waves, the birds, the sunset, and anything else he saw.  With one turn through his lens, he saw me looking back.  He raised his head and smiled, for the first time, showing me his bright green eyes and his white grin.  It took nothing more than this simple gaze and a bashful hello to let us know that the summer was ours.

Our families quickly became friends, as well, and we were soon having dinner at each others houses every night.  One night, my mother cooked for my family and our guests, while, the next night, his mother prepared the evening meal for the two homes.  With the friendship between our parents, puppy love for us became all the more difficult to avoid and we saw no reason to fight it.

Throughout the day, Tony would snap away, never missing a potentially good image that we shared, while I was incapable of skipping around, twirling through the wind, or swinging my arms up and down as the excitement of being with Tony overwhelmed me to the point of needing to release it through dance.  We took advantage of the early mornings to walk along the desolate beach, afternoons were spent sitting on the rocks that were barely visible from our homes, and sunsets were exclusively reserved for our most intimate conversations.

During one of these sunset talks, I experienced my first kiss with Tony.  His green eyes met my dark eyes that looked back.  One arm wrapped around my body keeping me close, while the other gently brought my face closer to his until we became one.  The cold, moist sand that we were sitting on didn’t even matter after I felt how warm and soft his touch was.

He was my best friend, my advisor, my critic, my support.  He told me the truth about everything and I did the same for him.  Everything he said or did included me.  Every plan I made and emotion I felt was because of Tony.  We understood each other to the point where words were no longer necessary; however, we were young and it was puppy love.  It was my first any kind of love and it was such an innocently pure relationship that was impossible to replace.  That summer Tony was my everything as I was his.