An exceptional woman, Lynette managed to convince everyone that “better judgment” was a concept predicated in nonsense. She knew how to have fun. That’s her—over there with the tie-dye shawl, kicking it up at the beach with her typical aplomb. She’d be the first to remove her bra, climb on a stranger’s shoulders “piggy-back,” and wave her arms in the air at every rock concert she attended. Today, however, something seemed different. Though the muslin tie-dye remained somewhat revealing and in character, her outstretched arms resembled Jesus on the cross.
Faced towards the sun, she began to chant Where is love? Love is gone! People around her appeared annoyed at first, but then began to watch and listen. Others simply stared at the ocean as waves accentuated Lynette’s refrain. The better part of me longed to go over, hug her, and reminisce old times; however, I knew Lynette well, and out of respect for her blissful albeit prophetic state, I decided to go eat and catch up with her latter on.
By sunset, everybody had deserted the beach except Lynette—but that wasn’t unusual. She’d always been the last person to leave a protest march, a party, a concert, or a love-in. However, she now seemed a bit weary, no longer able to shoulder another’s burden like she had done all her life. As she held a solitary, ocean vigil, I approached her and said, “Lynette, I saw you here today, dancing in the sand, and wanted to say hello—but felt you were engaged in something more important.”
“I saw you, Lee; I liked it—just as I’ve always liked you watching me,” Lynette answered, shaking aside her hair.”
“Let’s go get a drink, Lynette. It’s been too long.”
“Love too—can’t. I’ve made plans and can’t break ‘em. Perhaps…another time Lee?” she smiled, touching my cheek. “I’ve always loved your soft skin….”
With that, Lynette rose up from the sand and strolled down the beach alone. My eyes followed her until she disappeared into night’s pitch, but I never heard the handgun—which she carried for protection—fire. Rather, I’d turned, walked up the coast to the nearest bar, and drank myself into a stupor.
Lynette has been dead five years now. Recently, however, I’ve begun to encounter her indelible figure sauntering along sandy shoreline, always at midnight—always from a distance.
An author, poet, educator, Sterling Warner’s works have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, journals, and anthologies such as In the Grove, The Flatbush Review, Leaf by Leaf, Visual Verse, Literary Yard, Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape, American Mustard, the Atherton Review, and Metamorphoses. In addition to fiction and nonfiction, Warner’s has written five volumes of poetry: Rags and Feathers, Without Wheels, ShadowCat, Edges, and Memento Mori Redux, (One may order print copies of any or all of them available through Amazon.com,, Barnes and Noble and other international publishers.). Currently, he lives in Union, WA and is working on a collection flash fiction.
Photo by bertvthul
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