We’d fall in love again over four weeks every summer, my mum said we’d basically done it since we were eight. It’s like we’d spent the year collecting stories to share with each other while sitting on the safety of a nearly secluded beach across the road from my grandfather’s old beach house.
My friends knew Shell existed, they saw her in the photos our parents posted after the family-friend getaway to Stradbroke Island each year, though other than “there’s no one else my age there so we’re kind of forced to hang out” they didn’t know much about her.
This year was different, as our holiday began wrapping up I felt a pit in my stomach, I didn’t want us to go back to our own groups of friends, our own schools, liking each other’s photos on Instagram like we were any other person in each other’s lives.
We sat halfway down the rocks, watching the waves build and crash, the sun setting behind us, feeling that mix of tired, ocean sticky from weeks at the beach but relaxed and content. I told her I thought I’d miss her this year. “Same” she said.
A little bit of annoyance built up in me, I wish she wouldn’t go back to her cool friends as if she didn’t know me. I wish I didn’t have to see photos of her going off to other boys school’s dances where no doubt she found much more interesting boys than me to spend her time with.
“Well, lets be friends this year?” I suggested. Waiting to hear about how she’s too busy for that.
“Friends?” She questioned her voice betraying her attempt to hide disgust.
I felt my mind speed up to 100 miles an hour working out how to get out of this humiliating reply.
“You spend this whole trip giving me every second of your time, staring at the stars on the beach with me and kissing me goodnight, then every year you disappear to hang out with your friends who don’t even know I exist?” She continued. Frustrated.
Suddenly it all came together in my head, I sat there shocked. Was I missing something?
“Sorry,” she said, after a deep breath out “I know this has always been our thing.”
I grabbed her hand, pulling her into a deep kiss.
“I don’t want to lose you for another year, Shell”