I’m not too proud of this one. I like the beginning, but I think the end is weak. This exercise was just writing a short story. Simple, simple.
A light breeze caused the dune grass to ripple and sway, appearing as though dancing against the wind. Less than half a pace from the dune area was an old boardwalk that looked like it’d existed since the stone ages. Nailed to it was a sign of equal age that read, “SUNSET BEACH” in narrow, dark green lettering.
And the beach was rightly named. Just now, the sun was beginning to set, and the sky was taking on rich orange and pink hues. Not many people frequented this beach, the primary visitors being joggers in the morning and the occasional family seeking oasis. There was one exception, however. Her name was Jessica, but her friends knew her as Jess. She was the only person on the island that visited the beach faithfully every day, sometimes more often.
Jess lived in a small two-story vacation home that had been converted to a condo for those wealthy enough to live directly on the beach. From the moment she saw it the summer before last, she loved it. Jess particularly liked the gigantic picture window on the east wall of her living room, and the spacious deck that connected to her bedroom. The fridge was always stocked with ice pops, and there would often be freshly rinsed seashells drying on the kitchen counters.
On Sunday afternoons, Jess would spend hours sitting on the deck, reading a magazine or doodling on a sheet of paper.
It was the evenings, however, that Jess cherished most. During that dusky time when all the world seems to have turned to a deep shade of blue, she would walk the entire five miles of sunset beach and pause at the end to look out at the waves that seemed to go on forever. Jess would sit there, enjoying the peace of the waves crashing in front of her, and wait. Some evenings she would wait for an hour or more, but he would never show up, and other evenings she need only wait a few minutes and she’d hear the steady huff of his breath and the gentle splash of his fins sweeping through the water.
A large humpback ß CHECK WHALE BOOK whale, he was the bull of his herd, and skittish of every human except Jess. She couldn’t figure out why he was unafraid of her, nor could she fathom why he came to see her every night.
When she heard him swimming up the beach, she would wade into the ocean to about chest deep, and wait until she felt his snout bump her gently in the ribs. They would move about in the water like this for a few minutes, silently conversing and enjoying each other’s company, until the whale began to retreat to the deeper sea beyond, and Jess began to retreat to the land to begin her five mile walk back to the condo. ß I THINK THAT’S A RUN ON? This routine had gone on almost every night since last spring, and both human and beast cherished their time spent together.
Tonight, however, was different. A black thunderhead loomed far off over the ocean, but Jess suspected it would be like most others and veer off to the North before it broke the shore. She left the condo and began her trek up the beach.
Jess was nearly there when the wind started to pick up. She spread her arms wide on either side of her and felt the breeze sweep her arms and ruffle her hair.
In a few minutes, she was at the place where the whale always showed up. Jess sat down on the sand, staring out at the ocean, straining her eyes to see the tip of the whale’s head come out of the water, as he snuffed water out of his blowhole, but saw no whale.
He will be here, she assured herself.
The wind was getting stronger. Stray particles of sand streaked across the ground, and the waves were becoming choppier. Though it was only just past dinnertime, the sky had the appearance of night.
Jess squinted. She still couldn’t see any sign of the whale. In a few more minutes, she would have no choice but to head back to the condo. Grudgingly, she got up from where she had been sitting on the sand, and waded into the water, knee-deep, to rinse the stubborn grains from her legs.
Before she left, Jess looked once more at the horizon, and saw two things that surprised her. The first was not just her whale, but another, smaller whale beside it. And the second was a giant streak of lightening that sliced through the still darkening clouds, followed by an impressive roar of thunder.
Jess waded further into the water, meeting the two whales once she was nearly chest deep in the ocean. Giant waves urged her back to land, but she ignored them. The smaller whale came and nudged her as her whale hung back slightly. Jess looked down at the little one, surmising that this was the big whale’s baby. She ran her fingers down its back, enjoying the smoothness against her hands. The baby swam circles around Jess, and she watched, dumbstruck.
After another minute or two, both whales began to retreat, sensing the storm nearing land.
As Jess emerged from the water, she watched the two go deeper and deeper into the ocean together, wondering just where they went exactly.
She had just enough time to get back to her home before the rain drenched everything in the area.
From then on, the whale came with his baby every evening. With time, Jess would get to see an entire herd of whales come to the shore during evening hours, and always at the front was her first dear whale friend. She could never figure out why these whales had bonded with her, but she didn’t care. These evenings would be forever her secret with the whales.