Along the horizon, ships were dotted amongst the gentle rolling waves, their white sails like stitches holding the great blue fabrics of life together.

The girl thought about this, and laughed.

She had always found something so amusing in the little ironies that the world provided. How silly of her to think that it is life that encompasses this earth, when she knew how easy it was to slip away silently between the seams of life and yet remain here, a mute observer of the the frivolity of humanity.

Many years had fallen past her since she had last spoken to a living person but she had grown accustomed to that now and she found comfort in merely watching as the world rotated around her. So many people wandered right past her every day, never knowing the joy she took in listening to snippets of strangers’ lives and imagining the way she might have lived, if things had not ended differently so many years ago.

Her favourite people to watch were the couples newly fallen headfirst into the giddy rush of love. She knew what that felt like. She remembered the whispered secrets shared only in the distance between lover’s lips and the stolen kisses by the side of a beach. In a way, these were also the most painful scenes to endure.

On this particular evening, the stretch of golden sand that she inhabited was all but empty. A few families were left down by the water, but all seemingly getting ready to leave. The girl had just taken a stroll across the oceanfront and now returned to her sheltered outcropping of rock, relaxing back against it as she let the cool evening breeze wash over her, the sound of the crashing waves lulling her like a child into a restful state of near-sleep. She needed no blankets nor a bed to rest on for her sense of touch was so dulled that she hardly felt a thing anymore.

Just as she began to drift into the sea of unconsciousness, a loud barking woke her with a jolt. She sat up, her human reflexes still impossible to shake, and took in her surroundings quickly for signs of danger. To her delight, what she saw was not danger but a small bundle of energy bounding towards her in the shape of a dog.

She smiled.

She liked dogs. They were the only ones who ever passed the beach that had the ability to see her.

As it approached it slowed, sniffing at the air and wagging it’s tail. They were always dubious at first; she assumed it was because she smelled strange in comparison to living people. But when she fell to her knees in the universal dog language for ‘play’, it regained it’s joyous energy and leapt towards her. She stroked it’s head and the puppy rolled over for her, baring its belly in invitation.

Before she had a chance to fulfil it’s request, however, a whistle came from down the beach and the dog rebounded to it’s owners, loping away and leaving her once again alone. Not for the first time, she longed to stand up and greet the couple who owned the puppy, to interact with another human and be allowed to play with a dog for longer than a few moments. By now, she had become acquainted with these sudden urges, and knew well enough how to push it to the side to avoid the pain of lingering on it. However, this time in particular, she was struck by the remarkable similarities  between this couple and another she had known, so many years ago.

The two girls strolled down the beach hand in hand, their puppy happily bounding around their legs as it frolicked in it’s freedom. In the old, age-torn version of the image, the girls were restrained by their unwillingness to be seen too close and so walked at a distance from each other, never touching with more than their hands. In both worlds, the couple were so clearly delighted to be in each other’s company that they could not even attempt to keep the smiles off their faces, even if they ought to have done. And perhaps one version of these girls should have tried.

The overlaying images hit the girl with such strength that it blew the breath out of her (that is, if she can even be classed as breathing anymore) and she collapsed against the sand, gasping. Every emotion, every memory, every moment exploded through her heart in no more time than the space between the footfalls of the approaching couple. Tears filled her eyes and she could not rightfully say if they were of joy or of the deep terrible pain that split her soul in two. Perhaps it was both.

As she recovered from the shock of the unexpected reminder of days gone past, she began to look at the couple with new eyes. She saw not the ways things once were, but gladly exchanged that image for the way things now are. She rejoiced to see the couple so easily out in public, sharing their joy and love as any other couple would. As one girl leaned into the other, with laughter bright in her eyes, and kissed her on the cheek, the tears began to fall.

The girl revelled in the triumphant glory of the new world and dreamed that she and her dear, sweet, precious love might have been born in this age instead. Gone, she saw, were the days when young girls were beaten to death on the beach simply because they had fallen in love. Now perhaps the world could learn to love, and to accept love as it is.

With tears in her eyes and a smile on her face, the old young girl sighed and was released finally and completely into the peaceful nothingness that lies between the fabrics of this mortal life.
~ From Bea

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