“Alfred, please don’t tell me you’re moving. I rely on you for my fresh fruit every morning.”
“Well it is getting harder to compete for business these days; I would rather move my business a little closer to home.” Samantha sighed.
“I’m sorry to hear that you’ll be leaving us. This means no more morning walks that would lead me to your stand. I’ll also miss the long chats we've shared over the past few weeks.”
Alfred smiled as he wiped down the counter top. “I’m certain we will see each other again, one day.”
Samantha nodded in agreement, “I sure hope so.”
As she left the fruit vendor’s stand an eerie feeling came over her. It was an unusual emotion to have and she disliked it. Samantha turned around to face the folks walking about. Her eyes held a questioning gaze, focusing on the fruit vendor-Alfred. That uneasiness felt earlier, subsided. It was replaced by a touch of sadness. Samantha hated to see him go. He was more than a good friend to her. Tears stung her eyes. Shaking the feeling away. Samantha wasn't as certain that their paths would cross again. As she walked along the boardwalk, a tune played over in her head. A tune that Samantha wasn't sure she heard before. It was such a sad tune. The thought of it playing in her head without a means to an end would soon frustrate her to a tight grip of insanity. How can one sing along the tunes of a song they never heard before?
Checking her watch, Samantha picks up her step. The faster she walked the further she felt she was getting. This was her normal routine, a walk on the beach, a stop for some fresh fruit, a chat with Alfred and she was home, all within the hour. On this day time seemed to hold back. She walked faster, her steps became longer, the path before her seemed to never end. Samantha wanted to go home, to flop down on her bed and close her eyes. Samantha closed her eyes and breathed in the salty air. She adored the seaside. A treasure she held and never wanted to let go. Samantha wanted to forever walk along the sandy path, where she would step her feet into the cool sands waiting for the tide to wash in the beach. Watching the water come so slightly up to her feet and wash up between her toes.
It had been such a short time. She recalled it being just yesterday when she finished unpacking. She packed up a lunch and headed for the beach. Samantha was thrilled to be so close to the shoreline. The sun was shining bright that day. She thought she would go in for a swim. Samantha swam for what it seemed like hours, but it was only a few minutes. Then the winds picked up and so did the tides. They were fierce, tugging and pulling. The faster she tried to swim back to shore, the harder it was to stay above the waters.
Everyone gets that feeling, when they know; that same eerie feeling came over her then like it did just now. Did she know? In her self-conscious mind Samantha remembered the peculiar feeling. To stop defeat, she just held it off, pushing back time. She wanted to hold on for as long as she could. With her head in her hands, she tried to shake back the tears. Like all unavoidable moments, she couldn't stop the tears from falling. As she sat there on the sandy beach sobbing a figure approached.
“I told you we would meet again.” Alfred stood above Samantha, smiling his eyes hidden behind dark shades. “We don’t have much time, we must go.”
“I don’t understand where are we going?” Samantha asked, in a daze of confusion.
“You don’t remember? We met here once before, you appeared on the beach, standing in that exact same spot. I told you it was time to go but you refused. There are many that are taken before they are ready. You pleaded for more time, so I gave it to you."
“I remember swimming, and the tides, they were strong. I couldn't breathe. I swam as hard and as fast as I could. Finally I gave up; I was so tired. It wasn't much more that I could do.”
“Samantha, as long as you understand that this is no longer your home. It is time for us to move on.”
“So all of this time you've been here waiting for me until I was ready?" Alfred reached out his hand to Samantha. She held out her hand and he pulled her up. "I am ready to go home.” Samantha points upward. “I am going up there aren't I?” she questioned.
“Yes Samantha, you made it.”