Afternoon At The Beach
Story by Rob Mohr
She. “Where are we?”
He. “On the beach, facing the ocean.”
She. “The beach excites me, makes me glad to be alive.”
The ominous, heavy sky forces a decision. To stay means braving the storm. Their eyes meet. The decision is made. There on the wide flat surface of the beach, just as the tide turns and begins its long, slow flow inward, the couple begins to dance, turning in harmony, hearing the notes of a waltz deep within themselves. She is elegant, tall, slender, with dark auburn hair streaming down her back. Her delicate hands and arms move in time with the music. Her face is soft, relaxed as she focuses outward on the churning sea.
He is dark, controlling, leading their dance. His eyes are intense, black, reflecting the last of the light finding its way through the dense clouds rolling in from the sea. She glances at him, sees his determination, senses what he is thinking, and laughs. Her laugh throws him off stride. Their smooth passage slows; rhythm broken, they almost stumble. Correcting, he lifts their leading arms, pointing them outward, and puts his right foot forward. They again move in perfect time across the sand. She feels cared for, even loved.
A tall man dressed in a formal black suit holds a broad black umbrella over their heads. The rain is soft, and the drops glisten in the gold light reflected off the leading edge of the clouds. The tall man’s focus is intense, mindful, concerned. Perhaps he is their servant, or perhaps her father, desiring to protect his daughter. The wind increases, driving the rain hard into the dancers, causing the tall man in the formal black suit to move back and forth in an attempt to protect the couple. They —without concern, ignore the wind, rain, and dark sky—continue to twirl across the hard sand surface of the beach. They are only aware of one another, but, in her heart, she knows she will never be able to love him.
He. “To dance with the world spread out around us is like a dream.”
She. “Yes, to be here is to soar within a universe coming into being for the first time. Yet, nothing is what it seems to be.”
The roar of thunder, accented by a sudden clash of lightening, causes the tall man to grow concerned for the well-being of the dancers who are now executing a double reverse turn. The woman’s laugh becomes shrill; the sound is carried out over the incoming ocean. The man for the first time smiles as he holds his right arm out above her head, while she grasps his strong right hand, and turns in gentle circles as if guided by his will.
The rain now is heavy, drenching. Sudden gusts buffet their bodies and cause the umbrella to reverse its form, defeating its protective purpose. Sensing the futility of his efforts, the tall man folds the umbrella, ties it closed, and then walks slowly inland to where a dark limousine is parked. He turns and looks one last time at the couple dancing in perfect time across the hard sand beach. Lifting his arm, he waves, but they do not notice. He slides into the car; the leather seats are cool, the smell of cigars permeates the air. Without looking back, he starts the car and drives directly inland toward the light, away from the storm.