The stream of ocher mingled with the gloomy cerulean hue, a panorama signaling that of coveted sundown. Her hands quivered violently as a gust of cold wind snaked through the lush, turquoise sweater she wore. Her hair, bearing the same darkness as a starless night, created a sharp contrast against the pallor of her small, oval-shaped face. She was unconventionally beautiful, parts of her face hard where softness was deemed more enthralling, curved where straight beckoned more lingering glances, blemished where perfection was due. Yet what enraptured most people were her resplendent, green eyes. They were incisive, distinct, unforgettable. They were perceived as portals to poignant thoughts, windows to dubious emotions and a passage overwrought with dreams not necessarily borne out of selfishness but that of altruism.
The glorious rays of sunset created swathes of muted orange on her tear-streaked face. Her white, chiffon dress, dipped low on her bare chest, fluttered wildly around her legs, as if maneuvered by an impalpable entity. The sea looked exquisite in front of her, its vast expanse ostensibly embedded with diamonds, illuminated by the setting sun.
Her senses felt everything, saw everything, heard everything. The soles of her feet were buried among the grittiness of the sand. The stark contrast of colors in the sky, as if painted by an impeccable artist with a taste for finer things. The sound of the children’s giggles, their tiny voices unarguably naive in their attempt to protect their sandcastles forever. The memories of their halcyon days strewn across her in an impetus far too strong to prepare for.
It was strange how her memory failed her in the most inopportune moments but never his face, never his mannerisms, never his little quirks. She could never forget how his grey eyes, framed with thick eyelashes and bushy brows, came alive whenever he saw her in a crowd. She could never forget how his right hand had fixed his hair, in spite of the latter’s uncanny obstinacy. She could never forget how he had liked his french fries dipped in vinegar and salt in lieu of the typical ketchup and mayonnaise. She could never forget how his fingers interlaced with hers, as if a string of cherubs decided to sing madrigals just for them. She could never forget how his kisses were both sweet and passionate, a mishmash of things primal and kind. They were pieces of the past she was fond of reminiscing, the colors and details clear as a cloudless day despite the years in between.
The floating candle on her hand felt cumbersome, the smell of vanilla inebriating her senses before she could respond to her thoughts again. She knelt down and allowed the candle to be carried away by the translucent water, its flickering light visible among the frothy waves. She remembered that fateful day when they were swimming in the same beach, her swimsuit splattered with hues of chartreuse and lilac. She heard his voice first, cacophonous, almost overpowered by the sound of the waves crashing to shore. She saw him next, his head bobbing up and down, attempting to breathe air. She ran towards the water, swimming with a speed she never knew existed. She got to him, her right arm slicing through the water in rapid movement, her light dragging him through the drafts of the current, until they reached the shore. There was an ambulance, people in uniforms assisting, resuscitating. She held his hand tightly, willing him to live, even after they announced the time of his death.
She gathered their things, scouring through the contents of his bag when she came across a little black box. A pained, almost choked sound came out of her throat. Realization dawned upon her as she slumped to the sand, tears streaming down her face.