Ok, so I got into a discussion on Facebook about this image. I changed a few details, but here's what I've come up with so far.
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I didn't expect her to give it back. Well, I didn't plan to drop it in the first place. She was 14. Naive, but kind. And, pure as the crystal waters of the Irish sea. I admit I was being irresponsible. I hadn't done the proper checks as I came ashore.
In my defense, she was a tiny thing. She blended into the rocks along the shore, and wasn't visible from a cursory glance. Her hoodie shrouded her face so she blended into the rocks, and the midsummer morning drizzle didn't help either.
So, there I was sitting cross legged with my coat draped over my shoulders enjoying the droplets as they hit my human face and traced their way over my cheekbones, waiting for sunrise to dry everything out. I picked up a pebble and threw it. Not just a toss, but really wound up and let it go.
It was a silly game my father taught me. As my arms grew stronger I was able to sink it farther and farther at sea. As my father aged his grasp grew more feeble and his distance ebbed. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly trying not to miss him. I wish I had known 7 years ago would be our last excursion.
I picked up a slightly larger stone and nearly grunted with effort, trying to throw all my sorrow into this one, and for one second I loosened my grasp and let the coat slip behind me. I didn't care. The stone whistled as it sailed and I couldn't even see where it made contact with the swirling tide. I exhaled again and put my hand over the place where my human heart beat in my chest.
I'm not even sure when she picked it up. I thought I would have a sense of my coat's whereabouts, a sort of sixth sense tying my nerve endings on my exposed skin to the hair follicles of my coat. I was wrong, because suddenly she was just there, holding it out to me looking apologetic.
"Oops, dropped your coat."
I snatched it and threw it over my lap, hoping the darkness hid my naked form. I realized at once I had overreacted. Her mouth turned to the side and she ducked her head deeper into the hoodie. She waved, crossed her arms and turned quickly away.
I struggled to my feet tripping slightly as my long limbs untangled themselves. Bits of shell and sand dug between my toes and I nearly dropped my coat again in my haste to catch up to her. I wrapped it around my waist and tied it off to the side willing it to stay put. I put my hand on her arm and she twisted away and picked up her pace.
"Wait! No. I just wanted to say thank you."
"You're welcome, ok? No big!"
She ran up the porch steps of the nearby house and ducked in the glazed back door.
The sun was just coming over the edge of the horizon. The rain had stopped sometime while we were, um, talking or whatever you'd call our exchange. I waited a few moments watching the house, hoping to see her reappear. I probably stayed there too long. I watched through the door as an older woman began to shuffle around the kitchen.
When I could smell the coffee and bacon coming out the chimney my stomach finally snapped me out of my daze. I only had one day and I didn't plan to spend it staring at some random girl's back door.