To be taken up by etelephone
When Tyler releases my hand, I find myself nervously tucking a wayward piece of hair behind my ear. Nervous habit.
“Duffy,” he says. “That’s an interesting name.”
I try to tell myself that the blush slowly spreading across my face is just from the run.
“So, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you around here,” he says.
With good reason, I say to myself, but to Tyler say, “Oh, yeah, I usually don’t run this way.”
He smiles wide. “But, you live around here, right?”
“Yeah, not too far,” I say, gesturing toward the general direction of my house. I think about my mother. She’d be wondering where I was soon. She wouldn’t be happy to know that I was talking with a boy, especially one with as much potential as this one. She had always told me not to play with my food. “I should really be getting home…”
Tyler actually looks disappointed. “Oh, well, you should come around here more often. My friends and I practically live in the water.”
“I don’t know…”
“Please. I mean, this may seem a little forward, but you seem really nice. And you’re pretty. I’d like to get to know you.” He seems so genuine and it’s been so long since I’ve talked to anyone not trapped inside a computer screen.
“Okay,” I find myself saying.
I had no intention of going back to that beach, but that night I wake up in the middle of a thunderstorm. He was right. Those were storm clouds on the horizon. I get out of bed, pull on a sweatshirt, and watch the rain fall from my bedroom window. It is coming down in buckets, the kind of rain that actually feels like being in a shower when you go outside.
It is too wet to be outside and too late, but while I stand there, lightning streaking from one end of the sky to the other, a man walks in front of my window with a surf board. He looks like Tyler except the happy, flirtatious guy I met earlier seems depressed, walks slowly with hunched shoulders. Is it just the rain? Maybe, but if it is, why doesn’t he go inside?
While I wonder he disappears into the rain. My curiosity demands to be satisfied, so I grab my rain boots, climb out the window, and take off down the street after him, pajamas and ratty old sweatshirt and all.
He’s heading toward the beach where we met that evening. I told him that I don’t usually come this way, but here I am jogging that way again less than twelve hours later. It was strange of him not to ask—why avoid such a beautiful beach?—or maybe he was just trying to be polite. I’m grateful, though, I don’t know what I would have said if he had asked about it.
“Hi, my name is Duffy, and this is the beach where my older brother died. Can I have your number?”
Wonderful, wonderful pickup line.