Some people believe in miracles. Other people argue that fate is what makes dayturn into night and the waves rise high and low crashing over a ship at sea or carrying itto the shore safely. A person of faith will say that ones’ life is controlled by a higherpower greater than fate itself. Shannon has heard every excuse, rhyme or reason as towhat exactly wills each life changing event. She occasionally agrees, yet never disagreesfor reasons that would just be impolite.
It is what only she knows in her heart, and in aplace that even her heart cannot reach, that wills her to live through each day and keepsher anticipating the comfort of her empty bed at night. It is here, in the glow from a singlelit candle holding the scent of the ocean breeze, that Shannon separates herself from theworld around her and is brought into the only place she longs to be.
To begin the evening ritual, Shannon sits at her vanity, combing each section of herlong blonde locks and staring into her reflection.
She reminds herself of how her eyesused to sparkle. She attempts to recreate the shimmer in her hazel eyes by recalling ahumorous event, or practicing her most infectious grin. Suprised that this doesn’t work(although it has never worked before) she eagerly reaches under her mattress for thephotograph that will begin the second step of what will soon ease her into a soundShannon immediately finds the grin that she has been searching for. First, on theglossy print that she holds in her hand, and soon after, appearing on her own rose coloredlips. One would think that night after night of seeing the same picture would make it turninto only that, a picture. Every time Shannon gazes into this square paper world of hersshe is drawn into it as if it were happening all over again.
She falls into the time the picture was taken. It was a beautiful summer day, andthe sky was painted blue with traces of clouds only to remind the town that it was not, infact, a canvas, but a true day. The birds flew blissfully, calling to each other. The oceanbreeze was just enough to send the smell of the fish from the dock towards the inner partof town. The town itself was quiet. Families gathered today in their homes to share theday with each other. Many of the fishermen had the day off, and although the town shouldbe bustling with people, it just seemed like a day for peace and quiet in the confines ofShannon and Jay had the day planned also. He would be leaving in a week to goto sea, and they were deeply in love. At times like this, they would be inseparable. Asthey walked down the deserted beach, the water lightly grazed their bare feet. Hand inhand they headed toward the dock where Jay’s boat would depart in a week. Theydiscussed the days to come in specific detail. What she would do while he was gone,where they planned to go when he returned. They fantasized about what life would be likein a year. He would finally stay home to run his fathers business in town, never having toJust as they reached the end of the dock, Jay stopped Shannon and looked into hereyes. She stared deep into him, so deep that she trembled from the inside out. Her heartbegan to beat fast, like it always did when she was with him. He ran his fingers throughher windblown, sun streaked hair, and it was there that he professed his deepest love for“When I see you again, I will first touch your face and kiss your lips. Then I willtake your hand in mine and ask for you to be my wife. Until then, take this picture of me,and remember me every night. Please use it to remind yourself that I will be back. Nothing will keep us apart”. He slid the picture into the pocket of her windbreaker and put his lips to hers for the sweetest, softest embrace that lasted for what seemed likeAs Shannon remembers the moment, she focuses on the face of the person she wasmeant to spend the rest of her life with. His skin was just the right shade of cream, with ahint of rosiness shading his cheeks and nose giving the sense that the sun had grazed onlythose features of his face and no other. His eyes, although dark in color, seemed to have aglow in them to the point where their gaze would feel like it was warming you from theinside. The lines around his smile made it seem as if he found pure joy in every bit of life,as if they were permanently imprinted on each side of his lips. Oh, his lips. How soft theyseemed. They formed around his perfectly straight white teeth, by no means glossy, butholding a brightness to them that claimed they were never apart from her own for long. His hair was short and modest, and the sun rays picked up a glisten of gel here and therethat created waves within its dark brown surface. His shoulders were wide and thick, andhis blue collared polo shirt was unbuttoned at the top just enough to notice the bare of hischest underneath. He stood with one leg propped up on the dock and one inside his boat,as if to claim it belonged to him. In his hand, he held a tiny box just big enough to hold aring, one which would soon claim that she too, belonged to him.
Shannon gazes into the mirror where she notices that she has found the smile backon her face once again. With the glisten in her eyes, she knows that she is prepared to seehim now, and it is time for her to depart into her world of dreams for the night. Sheknows that she never feels his touch in her dreams, but she also knows that one day shewill. It could even be tonight. So with the hope of her dreams becoming reality, sheplaces the picture underneath her pillow with eagerness, as if she were a child awaiting thetooth fairy, and lays her head down, closing her eyes with willingness to fall under theOnce again deep in sleep, it is only a matter of time before he comes to her. Likeevery night she dreams about the day on the dock. The day replays moment by moment.
The wind in her hair, the gaze in his eyes, the sweet smell of his cologne mixed with thesalty ocean breeze, and the feel of his arms wrapped in hers. Yet tonight, the dream seemsto go further. She sees him come to her in her sleep. Shannon is shocked by the new levelof detail her dream has progressed to. She refuses to allow herself to wake now, eager toShe feels Jay’s presence in the dark of her dream. His hand sweeping over herface, grazing her lips with his smooth fingertips and moving them from there to the tip ofher ear where he brings his lips gently to whisper. The feeling of his breath on her is warmand makes Shannon’s body tingle as she begins to believe that he really is in the room withher. She smells the distinct flavor of his cologne in the air and on her pillow and longs for“Jay, I need you here with me.” she proclaims as if he can hear her.
“I’m here. Forever and always.” He speaks and she is calmed by his tender voice. Shannon feels the embrace of his arms around her, and the whispered phrase thataccompanies every nightly dream she encounters, declaring his love for her. Finally readyto be disappointed by reality, she opens her eyes only to find that he is real. As she looksat him, he slides the gold sparkling ring onto her finger and their lips find each other. Theremainder of the night had come to life with passion. At dawn, when she finally fell asleepwith his arms around her, she felt the grin on her face form and the comfort in her heart,knowing that he meant what he said. He would never leave again.
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