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  • Writer's pictureJessica Felton

snow on the beach

I chuckled coolly to myself and blinked away tears. I could hear the crashing of the sea, but I couldn’t see; the moon had disappeared. The ocean was indistinguishable from the inky sky. I had to admit, I thought it slightly amazing. I was running and escaping and I had been drawn subconsciously to the one place I would always return, the one place I would always feel like I belonged. The sea.

I strode down the train platform, moving slowly towards the glowing lanterns. Montauk was empty and barren. People didn’t want the ocean while snow fluttered from the uncertain winter sky. They wanted warmth and bright lights, crowded department stores and the savory scents of warm food carts. Montauk could offer none of this.

It was eerie and quiet, but I felt safer here than anywhere else I could imagine. I followed the lights and they lead me to the edge of the beach, illuminating the dark sand beneath them to a warm amber brown. They danced from the back of a well-lit deck; I noticed many moving shadows and shapes and light from the house beyond. I felt homey—snug—drifting into the familial glow. I moved past the lanterns, just a bit further, and plopped my body into the cold sand. The light bathed me in a false sense of warmth. It felt heavenly.

Snowflakes fell lazily from the sky as clouds shifted above. Soon the moon slipped into sight and threw the ocean into being. It was strange, being so cold and empty and dark and being at the sea, a place associated with crowds and warmth and sterilizing light. But I was refreshed. I settled into the sand, breathing slowly and deliberately.

I was glad to be out of the bowels of the city, glad I had left it all behind, glad I had abandoned my foolish aunt. I was safe here and I decided I would never leave the comfort of the sea.

Suddenly, something felt different. It was warm all of the sudden, and I knew it was pitch black, but it seemed bright. It was unsettling and I sat up, feeling extremely uneasy. A man moved towards me, tall and thin but muscular. He glowed in the lantern’s light. I was scared, but as he moved closer and his features becoming more pronounced, fire licked at me. It felt as if someone dropped a thick, velvety hot blanket over me and it had cascaded around my body. I couldn’t explain why, but I smiled. I was happy.

He now stood right in front of me and I looked at his face. He was smiling kindly. I should’ve been terrified of his broody face and swarthiness and imposing frame, but somehow I knew he was my savior.

“I’ve been looking for you,” he said very softly.

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