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Another summer night, the fire dancing as we encompassed its bright flames. Every now and then an ember or two would leap out of the roaring fire, threatening to burn us. My eye’s stared unblinking into the growing flames, lost, almost hypnotized. The burning driftwood dared the flames to change from yellow to blue, then green and yellow again. I slipped off my sandals and felt the cool of the sand in my feet as I continued to watch the fire. It was a quiet night for a bonfire, the only sound came from the crashing of the nearby waves and the scattered whispers.
The sound of my name pulled me away from my trance, “Kallie,” the voice called. I didn’t respond, still engrossed in the ever changing fire. “Kallie,” the soft voice called again with a hand on my shoulder. I turned around to find Barrett, his face closer to mine then I expected. “Sorry,” he mumbled as he pulled his hand off my shoulder.
“It’s ok,” I responded, looking into his beautiful gray-blue eyes. He stood up and rubbed his hand through his short blond hair.
“Wanna go for a walk? This fire is getting kind of boring,” he asked.
“Yeah,” I agreed. He guided me along the oceans shoreline, the tide closing in on us. I looked up at the sky and the hundreds of stars hovering over us. The stars allowed me to clear my head; think, feel. I couldn’t help this feeling inside of me, this feeling of longing, as if something was missing in my life.
As we continued to walk up the shoreline, we approached a cove of shallow pools, small sea creatures abiding in its salty water. It was a mini community of starfish, crabs, sea urchins, and muscles. The full moon shining bright, casting our reflections into the tide pools. My loose auburn curls reaching below my breast line, as my brown-green eyes underlined with freckles gaped back at me. “It’s beautiful,” I mouthed, talking about the tide pools. I saw Barrett look at me from the corner of my eyes. I wanted to stay here forever, but it was getting close to my curfew and I was in enough trouble as it was already. I prolonged the moment as long as possible, still gazing into the small pools of water as Barrett stood patiently, waiting for me to leave as I lingered near the cove.
The reminder of the amount of trouble I was already in forced me to pull away from the cove and join Barrett. We retraced our steps back to the bonfire, our previous footsteps already erased by the incoming tide. It was loud when we reunited with the group of kids from the neighborhood. The peaceful site had disappeared; it was loud now, people talking, others drinking, and others worse. What had once been a calming bonfire had raged into a wild party under the influence. I definitely needed to leave, the cops could show up at any minute, I couldn’t get in trouble again, three strikes and you’re out my mom had said.
I had rode my bike to the beach since my house was only about 3 miles away, but as I headed for my bike, Barrett offered me a ride home, “Kallie, wait, I’ll take you home. It’s too dark to bike home now,” he was always a savior.
“Thank s,” I said, “But you really don’t have too, I feel bad making you leave when you don’t have too.”
“It’s my pleasure,” he said with a smile on his face, “besides, I’m not really into this kind of stuff anyways.” He was right; Barrett was a good kid. He always received good grades, was always kind, and he never did anything that you wouldn’t want your mother catching you at. He was literally the best. He walked over and got my bike and placed it in the back of his red pickup.
“Thanks,” I said again.
“No problem, really,” he said earnestly as he got into the driver’s seat.
I walked up to the passenger’s side about to open the door, but he reached over and opened it for me. “Thanks again,” I laughed. I was saying ‘thanks’ a lot tonight.
The ride home was relaxing, the sound of the radio in the background as we made small talk. As he pulled into my drive way, I could hear the sirens sounding; someone must have called the police and reported the party.
“Good thing we left,” Barrett said, noting the sirens.
“You got that right. My mom would literally kill me if I wound up in trouble again.”
Just as I said it my mom yelled out the window, “Kallie, get in this house right now!”She was mad, which wasn’t unusual for her, she was always mad.
“Thanks again,” I said sincerely as I slid out of the pickup, heading toward the front door. I could see him smiling out of the corner of my eye, his dimples appearing. He waved goodbye from his car just before I opened the front door.