Short story

Raindrops fly at me, like projectiles, soaking my clothes, soaking my dirt-smeared sneakers. I feel my heart pounding unnaturally fast against my ribcage, sending tingling sensations up my spine, like an electrical storm. I feel tears constricting my throat, sending an unpleasant feeling up my tongue. Kyla’s face is streaked with tears, mixed so well with rainwater it’s impossible to tell which’s which. Her eyes are rimmed with red, a stark contrast against her face. Inside, I know she is doing what I’m doing and feeling what I’m feeling. Helpless, and blaming myself for everything. But maybe, it is my fault. Maybe it’s my fault she’s gone.

The azure-blue sky was dusted lightly with streaks of sunlight, and a light evening breeze caressed my face, messing up my neatly-tied ponytail. I could smell the salty air as seagulls swooped overhead. Nothing showed any hints of the imminent tragedy. Nothing showed any hints that today was going to be anything but the perfect day. High waves crashed against the shoreline, the sunlight making glittering jewels on the surface. I could see to about infinity in every direction, sandy flatness ringed with a body of clear blue water. Reality was pushed aside as Kyla, Victoria, and I waded knee-deep in the cool, inviting waters of the sea. The sea seemed so calm, so peaceful. None of us suspected anything about the dark side of the sea. The waves ran against our legs as we splashed each other playfully. We waded in deeper and deeper, eager to feel the serenity of the sea.

The water was just below our waists, soaking our shorts. Suddenly, Victoria’s legs splashed against the surface of the water as she went in deeper, the water coming up to just below her ribcage. Kyla’s brown eyes filled with concern and fear as my mouth opened in a silent warning, but it was far too late.

“Come on guys, it’s cooler and more fun over here! You can even feel th-” Victoria’s excited voice was rudely cut off as a monstrous wave washed over her scrawny frame. With a high-pitched scream, she disappeared under the dark, merciless waves. In a moment of panic, Kyla and I scrambled to shore, suddenly remembering that we were not certified swimmers. Luck was fortunately on our side and we flopped onto the sand like two beached fish, before we ourselves were swallowed under the menacing wall of seawater.

“Victoria…?” I managed with a squeak, still panting lightly.

“She’s… she’s gone…” Kyla whispered in disbelief.

Fingers of fear clasped over my throat, making my breath shallow and quick. No, no, no. I tried to think of Victoria, as if I could magically bring her back. Oh, wouldn’t that bring me so much relief, so many tears. My stomach suddenly felt hollow as it clenched in sadness. I could practically feel my entire being sinking into the yawning vacancy of the chasm of sadness and fear. Kyla’s eyes had lost their mischievous spark, now empty and lifeless looking. She stared out in the distance, at the setting sun disappearing over the horizon. I realised, she was too shocked to cry, to do anything. Her body was stiff, just a mere figure facing the long strip of dark blue sky.

Kyla and I just stood there, staring blankly at Victoria’s silver urn, not knowing what to do. I have no more tears left to cry, just puffy eyes, and a broken heart. We just have to accept that Victoria is gone, like a dream ending in the pale light of dawn.

Sometimes, when you’ve lost someone who holds a special place in your heart, your heart becomes harder, and you can never love someone as wholly as you could before. It’s as if something is missing. Yes, the heart is still a beating organ, but that’s all it is now. You can never ever truly feel happy again.

Never.

-Chua Wei Ting (1T)

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