Winter Day by June Lorraine Roberts

june roberts story

 

Winter Day

 

It’s a sharp-winter, sandy day

A day when the wind blows sand in your eyes making them brim over

One piece of grit feels like a hunk of pumice, grinding against my cornea

I press my fingers to my eye, the tears warm against my skin

It’s the kind of day your stupid cousin spends at the beach anyway

Flapping around in the waves like an idiot

I sit farther back along the sand in the sea grass and scrub

Huddled in my hoodie, arms wrapped tight against my body

My head is turned away from the water, but I keep one eye on her

It may be Florida, but today it’s only 61 degrees

She laughs at me shivering in the sand

The same kind of laugh she bellowed when I found her in bed with my boyfriend, 15-years ago

That braying laugh even now like a cheese grater on my shins

It’s a sharp-winter, sandy day and the afternoon grows late

I can’t seem to budge whatever is grinding inside my eye

A couple walking their dog turn their collars up against the strong breeze

They shake their heads at the woman in the water but don’t look my way

The wind catches their voices as they yell caution to my cousin

She flips them the finger and pulls from the bottle

Tequila is her drink of choice in Florida

Fuel for her antics and today, protection from the cold

It used to be vodka, her hand waving the bottle at me while laughing in bed with my boyfriend so long ago

Memories of other times run across my mindscape as the ruckus from the water continues

The lies told my family that they believed

The shoplifting she blamed on me

The joints she said were mine

The pregnancy test-kit found in the bathroom garbage

Cousin was a busy girl back then

It’s a sharp-winter, sandy day as laughter from the water changes from a bray to a bark

I look up and see a pelican’s brown body lifting from the water beside her, flying away with its prey

Moving to SW Florida years ago had been a relief, and not just from the Vermont cold

But she lives here now, all false hugs and shrill compliments like nothing happened

Like she never happened to me

More sand in my hair now and the salt sticky against my face

Cousin calls to me from the water, the gusts whipping her voice away

We are alone on the beach

I wave at her as the swell moves her sideways in concert with the spray

It’s a sharp-winter, sandy day and the sun lowers in the sky

I can’t see cousin for a moment, then she stands up

The waves have moved her farther out and the water is up to her armpits

Even from my blanket I can see the confusion and fear on her face

Her actions are jerky, as she slides on the Gulf’s sandy bottom

I pull up my blanket and head to the facilities around the other end of Lovers Key

Got to get that grit out of my eye before it causes real damage

It’s a sharp-winter, sandy day and the cry of the seagulls are all that can be heard

One of them seems strangely stricken

 

june robers

June Lorraine Roberts is a Flash Fiction writer of crime fiction, whose stories have been featured by Akashic Books and The Flash Fiction Press.

She is the creator of MurderInCommon.com, a website about crime fiction books and authors, that features debut and mid-list writers worldwide. Her website is a FeedSpot Top 100 Crime Fiction Blog.

A graduate of the London School of Journalism and a member of Sisters in Crime, she has served as a Derringer Judge and Bouchercon panelist, and has read her work at Noir at the Bar. As time permits, she beta reads for crime fiction authors.

Links:

http://www.akashicbooks.com/the-hong-kong-deal-by-june-lorraine-roberts/

http://www.theflashfictionpress.org/2016/02/25/picking-blueberries/