Once Upon a Pier

Photo belongs to Rebekah Matthews: http://stats.storify.com/record/click?sid=4f7bca36f630fca3737233ab&redirect=

We met on a pier. It was early April and a chill still wrapped around the sea. He stood strong and tall at the end of the pier, one knee bent, a booted foot resting on a rail. His back turned to me; he was too busy looking through binoculars to notice me.

The first thing I noticed about him was how the wind mussed his hair. It was just one small patch of mousey brown hair, flipping up and out with each soft breeze. Oh how I loved running my fingers through it; the silver strands flickering through my fingers like sparkles of sunlight on busy waters.

His hands, wrapped gently around the binoculars, were smooth and flawless. Too quickly, I would miss the caress of those soft fingers on my flesh. His sleeves bulged from his strength hidden beneath them. Some days I can still feel the sinew of those muscles on my fingertips.

His voice, when he finally noticed me, was soft yet deep, the kind you’d hear reading a soft lullaby.

“Oh!” he said, flinching. “Have you been there long?” His eyes captured my attention immediately, stealing my breath with their intensity.

“I…I…I only just arrived, actually. Something about the morning air…” My nervousness brought a smile to his handsome face, making his dimples appear, and revealing his perfect teeth.

“You’re right. There is something about the morning air here. It’s always seemed fresher in the morning.” He hitched his binoculars to his belt and held his hand out to me. “I’m Aldus. I live in that blue house over there.” He pointed behind me. There was a large three-story blue beach house just beyond the sand dune off the pier. It was closer to the ocean than I had ever seen a beach house be. The shutters were painted coral, and the wrap around porch invited ocean front parties. It was lovely.

“Hi,” I returned, feeling shy suddenly. “I’m Chloë. I’m renting that small bungalow about six slots down from you.” I pointed in the opposite direction.

“Oh! You’re renting the Cobb’s place. How do you like it?”

It seemed an odd question to me, but I would come to love his curious nature later. Even now as I stand on the same pier many years later looking out, I wonder what my life would have been like if I’d never met him. The tiny smile creaking at the corner of my lips tells me that I wouldn’t have changed a thing, even though he completely changed the course of my life in just one summer.

Somehow, he managed to engage me in conversation that led us away from the pier and down the beach together. He kept me talking through brunch, which he paid for, and the leisure return to the pier, where he swept me into his arms and kissed me.

I don’t know why I wasn’t afraid of this man I had known less than 24 hours putting his lips on mine. I should have run straight to my bungalow, but I didn’t. I froze, leaving my hands in his, as his lips peppered my throat with kisses. He stopped as he breached my shoulder and turned to the ocean. He held one of my hands in his, clamped to his chest, his lips never far from my skin. As pink tinged the sky, he released my hand, only to pull me closer and wrap his arm around my shoulders. Still I had no fear as his voice soothed and assured any emotions I had. As the sun set, he led me to the blue house, through its pastel yellow door, and into his bed where I spent the rest of my summer vacation.

A small tear rushes down my cheek as our life together flashes before my eyes-our beach wedding, ruined by an overnight shipwreck that left seaweed on the shore; the birth of each of our seven children and their graduations; the patter of small feet as our grandchildren filled the house. I can still remember that day that started it all.

I remember how the room smelled as sterile as the instruments lined up neatly on the small counter. I remember how I could smell his fear (or maybe it was mine?) as the doctor entered, a false smile plastered on his face, to begin the explanation that would turn our world upside down.

“You have cancer,” he said, his voicing bouncing from the walls. “We didn’t catch it in time, and it’s spread throughout your body. You’ll be lucky to have six months. It’s moved much faster than I thought it would, Al. I’m sorry. I’ll do what I can to keep you as comfortable as possible.”

And Al fought hard. A little piece of my heart died with each strand of silver hair that fell off. The tears I cried before bed every night were in pity-pity for him, but mostly pity for me. I missed the man I fell in love with. I wanted him back. It hurt my soul to see the empty shell he was becoming and to look into his eyes, vacant but for pain. I wouldn’t change a thing about our life together, but I would take on even an ounce of his pain just for a moment, if it meant more years with him.

Two souls began a new life on this pier. Now, from this pier, with these ashes, I am setting his soul free.

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For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, FlamingNyx gave me this prompt: “Something major happens in your life and your perspective changes.” Tell us a story where you detail the person’s thought process and emotional response..

I gave Chimnese this prompt: Your life changed too quickly with the unexpected arrival of your spouses teenage sons. Before you can catch your breath, you discover one of them has a sinister secret.

I also used the writing prompt from Studio 30+ this week which was: “we met on a pier.”

I always welcome your feedback. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this piece in a comment.

Thanks for stopping in!

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Stephanie Ayers

Executive Creative Director at Our Write Side/OWS Ink, LLC
A published author with a knack for twisted tales, Stephanie Ayers is the Executive Creative Director of OWS Ink, LLC, a community for writers and readers alike. She loves a good thriller, fairies, things that go bump in the night, and sappy stories. When she is not writing, she can be found in Creative Cloud designing book covers and promotional graphics for authors.
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16 thoughts on “Once Upon a Pier”

  1. Lance says:

    what a wonderful ending. I’d shorten the beginning and reveal some of that later in the story.

    The last 150 or so words are awesome.

    very good piece, mama

    1. SAM says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, Lance. I’m glad you enjoyed the story.

      Sent from my iPad

  2. Marie says:

    That doctor has very little bed-side manner! It was so blunt it almost felt like a slap in the face for me (and I’m not the one with cancer). I do however loved settling slowly into the story with a solid description of him on the pier. Either the beginning is too much or the announcement and how she felt was too rushed through… I say treat the announcement and how it devastated her with the same pacing as the beginning. Sorry Lance – I’m not in agreement with you! 😉 Kind of.

    1. SAM says:

      Its the latter. I definitely rushed the writing in the end. I need to organize my time better so I don’t feel so rushed because I’m doing it at the last minute. LOL. Thank you so much for your input and for stopping by!!

  3. Carrie says:

    I enjoyed the story. I love a good romance and meeting on a pier with the morning sun in summer…ah beautiful 🙂

    There are a few issues. I was confused as to how old the main characters were when they met. I think because you mix in memories of when he is older. The beginning could possibly be cut a bit and a little more given to the end. I agree that the doctors pronouncement felt a bit abrupt, there could be a bit more of how he suddenly feels poorly, goes for a checkup and they discover the concer.

    The only other critique is the beginning sentences felt very similar in structure. A lot of sentences beginning with ‘he’ or similar descriptions of his physical characteristics. I think there might be a way to show these traits better

    1. SAM says:

      So, it was obvious that towards the end I “rushed” it. I will definitely have to revisit this and give it some fixing, although, I agree with everyone. I like the slow opening, and the swifter close. I just need to spruce it up a little.

      Thanks for the input!! You know it means the world to me!

  4. TheKirCorner says:

    OH Steph, I am not going to edit or concrit any of it. It’s wonderful and romantic, each image so vivid, I could smell the ocean and feel my hands in his hair. I felt him smiling at me and felt my stomach clench and drop when I read about his cancer.

    the ashes, reminds me of my dad and sprinkling his on the many beaches I’ve visited since he has died….little pieces of him all over the world.

    your writing never ceases to get me caught me up, tearing up, my feeling welling up.

    I loved it.

    1. SAM says:

      I’m glad you were able to experience the story in that way. That means a lot to me. Thank you!!!!

  5. Imelda says:

    What a nice love story. 🙂

    1. SAM says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  6. Chelle says:

    Great writing as always.
    To me, the story flowed nicely and I wasn’t confused about the switch in time.
    As far as the doctor, I thought two things: typical of some doctor’s bedside manners or he was a personal friend of Al’s and hated delivering him the news.

    1. SAM says:

      I’m glad that you noticed the connection between the doctor and Al. They do have history, especially as Al was a long time resident. This was the approach I was using. Thank you for noticing!

  7. becca112971 says:

    wow loved this great job

    1. SAM says:

      Thank you. I always enjoy “wowing” my readers.

  8. insignif at best (@insignifblog) says:

    So beautiful. Loved it!

    1. SAM says:

      Thanks, Lisa!

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