A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Creative Corner

“The Beach” by Jay Jaworski

Soft, tiny grains of sand squished between my toes as I walked along the seashore. The sun was setting, and the sky was full of color. Orange and magenta almost blended together as they made a gradient into the navy night sky. The wind blew against my straw sunhat, pushing it off of my head. I tried to grab for it, but it flew just out of my reach and landed only a few feet away from me on the ground. A man stood directly over it. My eyes made their way from his sand-covered feet to his green and blue swim trunks, then to his white tank top and up to his face. Those brown eyes were glued onto me. His olive skin and dark shaggy hair felt so familiar. I could suddenly feel as if I was back in elementary school, the day my parents took me to the beach for the first time.

“Are you excited about the beach, sweetie?” I heard my dad ask while he was driving. He looked into the rearview mirror and I nodded so enthusiastically I thought my head would fall off, “That’s good,” He smiled and looked back to the road. I could barely contain my excitement.

“Do you think we’ll see a sea turtle, dad?” I questioned.

He laughed, “If we’re lucky!”

The man bent over to retrieve my sunhat and began walking toward me with an unreadable look on his face. He seemed to have some stubble on his chin.

When we had made it to the beach, my dad blew up an inflatable ball and tossed it to me, “Don’t go too far now, you hear me?”

“Got it, dad!” I quickly responded before running off to play with the colorful ball. Little did we know how windy it was going to be that day. Only minutes after I began to play, the wind caught the ball as I threw it up into the air. It blew away from me, only to land in front of a boy who seemed to be around my age. My gaze traveled from his feet, which were covered in sand to his blue trunks, then to his t-shirt covered torso and to his face. The same olive skin and copper brown eyes, but the style of his hair was kind of different. It wasn’t as long.

We stayed silent before he bent down and grabbed the ball, “This yours?” He asked. I nodded my head. He began to walk toward me, making me kind of nervous. I fiddled with my fingers. He handed it to me, “Here you go.”

I looked up to him and noticed the kindest smile I had ever seen, “T-Thank you.” My voice was almost a whisper You could barely hear it over the sound of the crashing waves to our sides.

The man stopped in front of me and reached his arm out to return my hat, “This yours?” I nodded. I could feel my fingers twitching as if they wanted to move. Like it was a nervous twitch, and that hadn’t happened in years. He evoked that familiar feeling of embarrassment just like the first time we met.

I hesitated but moved my hand to grab the hat anyway, “Thank you,” I said. His smile was still as sweet as could be, but bigger and absolutely filled with emotion. It seemed like he felt it too. That familiar sense of deja vu.

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