The First Day
I met her on the summer I was turning eighteen. She was sitting at my beach, which I had self-proclaimed, since no one else that I knew went to it. Her knees were bent and she had her arms wrapped around her legs. Her long blonde hair blew slightly in the wind and gave her a majestic air. I was surprised and slightly annoyed that someone else had discovered my secret place. As I approached her, I saw that her eyes were closed. That bothered me even more. How could she be at such a wonderful place and not to stop to gaze upon its beauty? It seemed an insult to the universe.
She opened her eyes and I jumped backwards a little. Her eyes were big and blue. When she smiled at me, I didn't smile back. I envied her for being so beautiful and so enchanting. I bet she was the type of girl with lots of good friends and that could take silly pictures and not look ugly. And she probably had a boyfriend and never got teased and even had guys waiting in line to go out with her. Whereas I was too average and too weird. God, how I envied the idea of her that first moment.
Her smile didn't falter, so I decided to at least acknowledge her existence.
"You're on my beach," I said, trying to sound as least aggressive as I could.
"You own this beach?" she asked, scrunching up her nose, and still looking pretty.
"Yes, it's mine."
I don't know why I was so protective of it. Maybe it was because it was the only place I never felt like I had to please anyone, the main reason being that I was always alone there. People in general suck. I mean, parents and friends are great, but the rest of the world can be pretty lacking.
"Can't it be ours?" she asked timidly, but still smiling. I would feel like a selfish, horrible person if I said no, so I chose to change the subject.
"Is this your first summer here?" I asked, sitting down beside her on the sand.
"No. I've come here before with my family, but that was years ago. I was like two or three."
"Oh, my family started vacationing here since I was eight. How come you stopped coming?"
"Just life. Sometimes things just come up and you're thinking of anything but your beach house."
"Right," I said, instantly regretting having asked it.
It was a stupid question, which she chose to answer stating the obvious. Thankfully, she didn't take it personally.
"So, why is this your beach?" she asked, sifting some sand between her fingers.
"No one ever comes here. And since it's so secluded and hard to find, I just like to indulge in the notion that it's mine."
"Yet here I am."
I smiled. She didn't seem to take it like an offense at all and I instantly felt bad for mentally attacking her earlier.
"I'm Charlotte," she said, sticking out her hand for me to shake. I found it odd but took it anyways.
"You know, Lucy, you have the prettiest eyes I have ever seen. You must drive boys crazy!"
She said it in this sweet, older sister type of voice that made me wish I actually had one. It struck me as funny that I had thought the same thing about her when I had seen her eyes.
"But they're just brown. Nothing special," I shrugged.
"Don't say that! They're very special. It's not just the color that counts, although it's gorgeous, but the feeling in them. You convey so many emotions through your eyes."
That was by far the best compliment I had ever received. She was still smiling, like the entire time we had been talking. This time when I looked at her face, I looked, really looked, at her eyes. They seemed to carry the weight of the world.
"Why were you closing your eyes before?" I blurted out without even thinking.
"I was feeling the beach."
Feeling the beach? It sounded kind of cheesy, like something someone says when they want to seem deep.
"I have this theory that you have to feel things, not just or touch or hear them," she continued, "You have to stop and just experience what it makes you feel. It's a beautiful thing, really, to look inside yourself to really see something."
I was left speechless. I didn't know how to respond to that. She wasn't just pretending to be deep, she was the real thing.
"I should be going," Charlotte said, getting up and wiping the sand off her shorts, "Hopefully we'll see each other soon!"
She waved and walked away, not once looking back. I couldn't take my eyes off of her. I had never met anyone quite like Charlotte before. She was so sure of everything and so full of life that I was awed. Most people I knew just talked about dismal, shallow things, but she seemed to know the secrets of the universe. I longed to be just a tiny bit like her.
I stayed there for a long time after Charlotte had left, facing the sea but with eyes closed.