Cenia makes a decision.
|Winner of the 2/13/11 "Daily Flash Fiction Challenge"
Cenia walked across the hard packed, wet sand leaving light footprints behind. The lapping ocean waves soon erased them. The sand was warm from the June sun, and it felt good when it squished between her toes, reminding her of when she was a little girl. In the hazy distance, she could see the boardwalk and the high-rise hotels. The wind and high humidity turned her naturally red curls into an unruly, frizzy mop. With the sunburn and freckles popping up across her nose, she even looked like that little girl.
Her tote bag grew heavier as she trotted up the wooden steps to the public restroom. At the top of the dune, she turned and looked back down the shoreline, fixing her gaze on the red, white, and blue beach umbrella. Jerry threw the beach ball to one of the girls as Toby, their black Lab, dashed between them, knocking it into the water. A tiny smile flickered across Cenia’s lips.
Cenia wondered if any other woman felt like she did, or if she was the only one. At less than twenty-two years old, she had a loving husband and two beautiful daughters, the envy of her girlfriends, or so they said. They were single and having fun. She felt she was in a box, and the sides were closing in. Jerry thought a day at the beach would make everything just fine, but it would not. Tomorrow would be the same as yesterday and the day before that.
In the stall, Cenia slipped her cover-up over her head, and slid her bare feet into her flip-flops. Outside, she tugged her heavy tote onto her shoulder, took one last look down the beach at her young family, and headed on toward the high-rises and the train station.