By: Cailey Tarriane
His devious little body could be swept away by the ocean like a cat playing with a mouse. My brother’s feet would try to push deep in the sand, Mother and Father grabbing his skinny, numb-with-cold arms. But it would do no good. He would see the world black, but light in some spots. Knowing Caden, he would be hopeful about the light, but it would turn out to be bubbles of his last breaths. Water would throb in his ears like a shaking heartbeat. I can see the thought of that reflecting on my eight year old self’s face.
‘’Cut it out or you’ll get swept away!” I know I said that, but I only see my mouth tilting unpleasantly in the photo. It was a stolen moment on the beach, the purple knapsack I brought with me everywhere spilled with snacks beside Caden’s shovel and pail.
The next picture is another moment at the beach. Caden and I are accompanied by baby Lucy and Father. Yet another stolen shot, in this one I look nicer, and about two years older. The pearl-colored waters are reflecting the sun, kissing my hair. It was a back view of the four of us.
I know that at the time, Mother, who was taking the picture, was ordering Father to support baby Lucy’s neck. Lucy’s face couldn’t be seen in the photo, but I imagine it was red. Lucy cries when being carried.
Other than that the picture is beautiful. It looks like I’m holding Caden’s hand in an affectionate way. In reality, his hands are marked with pink from the pressure of my squeezing. I was moments away from pulling his ear, for he kept running over to the deep side of the ocean. He would turn into a sea nymph, breathing forever and frankly, die. Mother and Father are too busy with Lucy to pay attention to him.
I put the picture down, picturing my rage that day. Sand that’s swept with wind gently blows on my hair as I stare at my smile. The next photo is me finally putting a smile on my face, but it’s as forced as Caden’s. Lucy was three, her tiny, sensitive mind unable to comprehend that Father was really gone. Forever.
Mother thought it was best to take us to the beach that month, despite it being the rainy season. It was so cold there. I’m not sure how watching over both Caleb and Lucy is supposed to be as good as the sound of Father’s voice, the patent of having him back, but to my surprise, Caleb was pretty behaved on that trip. We got sick of the beach after that, and haven’t gone in years. But when Mother proposed another beach trip for my eighteenth birthday, this time I agreed. This place is a different beach. It’s a sea, for one, with rivers. How our picture would look, I don’t know, but we’ll find out soon enough.
‘’Cut it out or you’ll get swept away!’’ Caleb is pulling little-but-not-baby Lucy away from the ocean. I smile at that, a genuine one for the first time.
‘’Say Cheese!’’ Mother snaps pictures at us, in landscape mode because Caleb and Lucy are by the sea, and I’m sitting on the riverbed. The wind is strong and I can’t hear him, but if my mind reading skills are any good(which, from reading faces from the pictures, I suppose they are good), I’m sure I heard Caleb think,’’My little sister’s feet would try to push deep in the sand, Mother and my older sister would grab her skinny, numb-with-cold arms. But it would be no use. Lucy would see the world black, but light in some spots. And she would mistake her bubbles for the light.’’
Cailey Tarriane is an author and poet who writes novels, flash fiction- anything under the sun. She has experience in editing, co-writing, and writing about her pets. During her free time, she can be found sinking in a great fantasy book.