Step One

September 15th, 2022

Revised Two-Page Start

Short Story #1 Draft – Step One

The mighty ocean waves crashed against the rocks with beautiful, yet fearful vigor, the salt water splashing straight into the air and beginning the dive bomb back towards the ground, right on me and Winter. She laughed and I mumbled a few obscenities, obviously pissed off from being completely drenched with sea water filled with decomposing sea plants and fish and whatever else is in that stuff. “Ha-ha,” I said, still annoyed. While Winter didn’t bother to wipe the salt water droplets off her face, the taste of it on my lips made my face scrunch up and my stomach turn. I never liked the ocean, too powerful and too unpredictable.

She’s 16, a year younger than me. Her black hair is cut at shoulder-length and her eyes  an illuminating blue, bright like ice but not so cold. She originally lived in New York City where her parents made a living through creating art. Her father was an Impressionist painter, her mother a prolific writer. They moved to my small town called Mystic, Connecticut, because her mother had gotten very ill and wanted to live in a peaceful place for her final days. Winter’s mother passed away before I met her, and she has never opened up to me about the pain she endures because of it. I leave it that way because I know she does not want me to know. She seems happy enough, so I don’t worry.

The ocean continues to beat against the rocks. It’s nearly high tide, and Winter steps a little further out than I’m comfortable with. It’s not my place to say anything, so I don’t. I watch her walk out, admirably calm on the increasingly slippery rocks. I stay behind and watch as the water splashes up and around her. I don’t understand how someone can be so confident in such a chaotic place. If I even tried calling her back now, she wouldn’t be able to hear me over the noise. Yet she continues to walk unphased along the rocks, closer to the madness.

It’s been two years since she first moved here. Her mother had passed away only a few months after her arrival here, and enjoyed drives along the ocean. She loved the salt air and would likely do anything to have the water splash on her face and have that gross salty water fall on her lips, the very water I cringed at. But that is not my weight to carry, so I repress the guilt. Just because she liked the ocean does not mean I have to, and just because Winter keeps walking closer to danger does not mean I have to follow. It’s chaos in my mind already, my thoughts are louder than the waves. Does she expect me to follow her?

I continued to watch Winter from a distance. Worried now that she has walked out of sight, I begin to call for her. First calm, then a little more desperate: “Winter? Winter, where are you? Hey! WIN-TER! This is not funny!” The rocks were dangerous and I was afraid to move forward, but I couldn’t stand losing sight of her. It’s probably all part of her plan. She knew I would follow her, even if I didn’t know. But I wasn’t so confident in the chaos as she was. I treaded slowly, looking in all directions at the nightmare ahead. It was my choice to either stay and be selfish, or go forward and help Winter deal with the unrelenting ocean. Hesitantly, I moved forward.