This Great Society - Issue 6 - The Future

Creative Writing

Illustration by Joel Bentley

Horizon by Joel Bentley
Horizon by Joel Bentley

In the morning my room is mangos and peaches from the sun. I rise, walk down the stairs, and climb into Mollie’s bed. Wrapping my arms around her, I feel her nestle into the arc of my body, her back against my chest. She quickly grows restless and turns to face me, sliding a leg between my thighs. Her eyes are smoke. Just as I’m about to kiss her she asks, “Chicken or beef?”
          “Chicken or beef, sir?” My daydream has ended. I turn to face the flight attendant on my left.
          “Uh, chicken.”
          She dishes out my plastic-sealed dinner and moves down the isle.
          When I arrive in Honolulu there’s no one there to meet me. Mollie’s late, and I’m left to the muggy armpit of HNL, watching lovers separated by time and space embrace.

At college we were inseparable. I took her to concerts, where she danced with an abandon I longed for. I spent lazy afternoons on her couch, distracting her as she frantically finished assignments due the day before.
          I shamed her with my punctuality. Bored her with stories of half a dozen crushes. She scolded my ineptitude, my timidity. “You’re just going to end up grumpy and alone if you don’t take initiative and make something happen.”
           “I’m already grumpy and alone.”
           She was beautiful in a way I could only understand in part. Her lips mauve and full, her laughter cutting through a room like a flash in the night. There was always an unfulfilled attraction between us, a tension that drove our friendship. But there were always others for us.
           I fell in love with her the moment she left for home.

           I turn to see her running across the baggage claim. As she approaches, sweat marks under her arms become visible. Her hair is amuck.
           “Hey you.” She greets me with leis and a hug.
           “I missed you.”

We head to the beach straight away. She takes me to a local spot—a rock ledge that juts out from the shore forty feet above the waves. We climb up its backside and look out over the horizon, a crisp division of blue on blue. The sun casts a silver sheen upon the ocean.
           I look down. Waves rise and crash below us in ten feet swells. Locals are jumping all around us, disappearing below the cusp and reappearing up on the shore. It’s a magic act, one I’m not sure I can pull off.
           Mollie sees the hesitation on my face. “Come on,” she smiles. “We’ll jump together.”
          I step to the edge and she immediately begins counting down from three.
          Before I can stop myself I’m in the air, the water rushing towards me in a fury. I plunge deep, my feet touch the sand, and in an instant I emerge to hear her laughter.

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