Tacoma, Washington, 1998 – “So,” Lizzie Douglas said as she and Henry Taylor walked down the beach. “It’s been two years.”
“Since we, uh, last saw each other.”
“Oh, yeah.” Henry kicked a rock and watched it bounce several feet away into the water. They walked on in silence for a bit until Lizzie spoke again.
“Was the time you and your siblings had in Missouri…good? Other than the, um, part about your parents?”
He remained silent, leading her to believe she’d said the wrong thing. She played with her dark brown hair, waiting for him to answer…or change the subject.
“It was okay, I guess,” Henry finally replied. “It was nice seeing the rest of the family again.”
“Yeah.” Henry glanced at her. “How-how have you been?”
“I’ve been good,” she said. “I’m going to visit my grandma and step-grandpa in Connecticut next month.”
“Oh, that’s nice.”
More silence followed, which Lizzie found strange because they were usually more talkative than this. Of course, that had been before he went back to Missouri. Ever since he came back, there had been something…off about him. Almost like he was keeping a secret.
“I don’t know if you know this yet, but it was recently voted upon to have a second parallel bridge built to carry eastbound traffic,” Lizzie said, pointing at the Narrows bridge in the distance.
“Well, now I do,” Henry said.
A strong wind came by and Lizzie shivered. “Why did I leave the house without a jacket,” she said. “I’ve lived here my entire life, I should know bet-“
She felt a weight on her shoulders and glanced down to see Henry’s leather jacket around her shoulders.
“Oh. Thank you,” she said. “You sure you’ll be okay?”
“I’m fine.” Henry gave her a lopsided grin and glanced behind them. He frowned. “Where’d Abe go?”
Lizzie scanned the treeline for a glimpse of their best friend. Not seeing him, she and Henry gave each other a quick glance, then directed their focus back to the bridge.
Henry kicked another rock. Should I tell her or not? he thought. He initially hadn’t wanted to go back to Missouri, because going back meant-
“Hey, are you okay?” Lizzie asked, caramel-brown eyes meeting his jade green. He shrugged.
“I…kind of don’t want to talk about it right now,” he said, looking around at their surroundings. “Think we should start heading back?”
“Sure,” she said. They turned around and started walking back to her house. “Henry?”
“If you ever want to talk about what’s bothering you, I’m only a phone call away.”
A small smile appeared on his face. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
©H.S. Kylian 2018
(Critiques are welcome and appreciated!)
This post was last updated on February 15, 2020