This week’s post is based on the following lyrics from Beaches of Cheyenne by Garth Brooks:
“Nobody can explain it, some say she’s still alive. They’d even claim they’ve seen her on the shoreline at night.”
His glass slipped on the counter ever so slightly, drifting in the pool of condensation as the humidity and cold glass worked their science. He caught it before it could slide to the edge and moved it to a coaster. With a heavy sigh he leaned away from the bar and closed his eyes. Tired. That’s all it was. He rubbed his eyes and then leaned forward to cradle his glass for a moment before downing its contents in two large gulps.
Sam came over and replaced the beer with a fresh one. “You look more haggardly than normal, everything okay?”
“I saw her again,” he mumbled in response, his eyes lost in the swirls of the amber liquid.
He’d told Sam about the woman before. He’d seen her a few times, late at night while working the docks, walking along the shore, walking on the surface of the water, and had mentioned it to Sam after he’d had a few drinks one night after his shift. He’d expected to be laughed at but had felt compelled to share the story anyway. Perhaps he’d thought that getting it out In the open and having it be ridiculed would help him shake it from his mind. It hadn’t worked.
Sam had believed him and had heard about the woman from other workers before. Plus, he kept seeing her. Kept watching her walk along the shoreline, impossibly striding across the breakers, only to disappear. It proved impossible to doubt it. He knew what he was seeing was real. It was some kind of real he didn’t understand but real all the same.
Sam placed his elbows on the bar and leaned close so they could confer without being heard. “She see you?”
“Nah. She’s too far away to take any notice of me.”
“Some of the stories I’ve heard say that she’ll talk to you if she keeps letting herself be seen.”
“How can that be, Sam?”
“Some say she’s still alive, somehow. Whatever she is. She can do impossible things.”
He took a drink, not wanting to go down this rabbit hole of a conversation again. It let to too many damn questions. Who was she? Why was she out there? How could she do what she did? Why was he able to see her when so many others couldn’t or didn’t? And what did it all mean? No. He’d climbed down into that hole of unanswerable questions before and had no interest in doing so again.
Though, taking another drink, he found himself wondering what her voice sounded like.
Cursing under his breath, he set his glass back on the bar and frowned at Sam. The bartender laughed and walked away to refresh another glass.
For the next hour he pushed the woman from his thoughts. Then he paid his tab and started for home. Instead of walking the direct route he took a detour down towards the ocean. He didn’t think he’s see her again but he felt compelled to walk that way anyway. Maybe he would. Maybe he’d see her again on his next shift on the docks. Maybe she’d walk across the water to talk to him. Really, would that be so bad?