One Reply to “6.19.2015 Journal Prompt”

  1. I knew her of course. Someone that pretty in a town the size of ours, she was bound to be noticed. I saw her some days, just walking here or walking there, and she turned heads, you know. And men licked their lips and adjusted their pants and imagined themselves luckier than they ever was. And I saw boys do the same, and standing to look a little taller than they was. Then when she had passed, they all of ’em went back to what they was doing before and the day was a little slower after that and a like the sun had slipped behind a darker cloud.

    Her name was Julie. I knew that, too. And she was up for the summer. Not with her folks this time, but by herself. Came from the city most summers, they did, and they took a house out by the beach. Had a sea view that house and that was the attraction. And this summer, Julie had the whole house to herself. She kept all the lights on, so in the dark and looking from the town to the sea, it was like a beached ship. And there was music adrift on the air, even when she wasn’t there.

    Some nights she came into the bar but she kept herself to herself and it soon got to be that the men stopped paying her attention. They had names for her and they were not pretty names and had everything to do with how aloof she was. I watched her some nights and she drank beer from the can, drank it like she was slaking a real dry thirst, like it was water almost. And she put money in the jukebox and played only sad songs, till someone complained and put in his own money and picked something a little livelier. Then Julie just left.

    I followed her this one night and I caught up with her on the beach and I asked if she was ok. She looked at me funny, as though I was speaking a whole different language and she was trying to unravel what I’d said.

    ‘It’s Julie, isn’t it?’

    She didn’t say anything, just went on looking. There was a chill breath coming off the sea and her hair kept blowing across her cheek and she kept tucking it behind her ear with a movement of her hand.

    ‘Only, you look sorta sad, you know, and the songs you keep listening to in the bar and all, and I was just wondering if you was ok. I seen you before. Summers before. With your folks. And now you’re here by yourself. And it ain’t none of my business, I get that, but I was just thinking if you needed company, well, I was just wondering.’

    I was talking too much and too fast.

    She just shrugged and maybe she smiled. Then she looked along the beach to her lit up house, looking like she was considering, maybe making a calculation of the number of steps it would take her.

    Like I said, she was pretty and all. And when she walked, it was like dancing and it seemed as though there was music playing wherever she was. And it was summer and the air as warm as cupped breath. And she was all by herself in that big house on the beach.

    Julie said she was fine with me being around, but she said on one condition. She said I wasn’t to go saying I was in love with her or even thinking it. On no account, she said. She’d had enough with love and she was just looking to be. I swallowed hard, and she brushed her wind-blown hair from her cheek and back behind her ear – I thought it might have been the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, her doing that with her hair. I promised not to fall in love with her and I laughed and made a joke about it, a joke to hide the fact that I’d already fallen.

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