The Last Beach Trip

Normally, Darcy looked forward to the annual beach trip she took with her best friend, Liz. This year, though, was bittersweet. Darcy placed her suitcase in the trunk of her Mercedes convertible. She had stalled long enough. It was time to get on the road.

Darcy slid into the driver’s seat, clicked her seat belt, and started the ignition. She looked over at Liz in the passenger seat and said, “here we go.”

*****

Not even out of Raleigh yet, Darcy thought back to when she met Liz. It was the summer before they started sixth grade. Both were on vacation with their families. Liz was in the ocean with her boogie board when Darcy spotted her, and thought it looked fun.

“Um, hi…is it okay if I borrow your boogie board?” Going up to a stranger and actually talking to them wasn’t usually Darcy’s thing. She was too shy to do something like that. But Liz was having a blast and Darcy really wanted to give it a go.

“Sure. It’s so much fun!” The blonde haired girl smiled wide. “I’m Elizabeth, but everybody calls me Liz.” And that was that. They spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out together, as well as the rest of their vacation.

Darcy remembered their beach side talks so well. They discovered they liked many of the same things. That long list included vanilla lip balm, boy bands, tacos, and of course, the beach. Both girls were surprised to learn that they lived in Raleigh only about five miles apart.

On the last night of that summer vacation, Liz and Darcy vowed to stay friends once they were back home, and to stay friends forever, no matter what.

*****

Darcy spent the nearly three hour drive to Emerald Isle thinking back on the last thirty four years. She and Liz had been through everything together. The terrors of adolescence, boyfriends of the good and bad variety, and getting into the same college. Then came the more serious adult experiences, like their first jobs, mortgages, getting married and having kids. Through all the ups and downs, they remained steadfast friends.

During the drive,  there was laughter and tears. Mostly laughter, and Darcy was forever to Liz for that. If she had never met Liz, would her life had been filled with that much joy? Maybe, maybe not. Darcy knew for sure that she would have ended up a completely different person if not for Liz.

Darcy pulled up to the rental condo, the same one she and Liz rent for one week every summer. She loved this place so much. It was filled with so many wonderful memories. She smiled at the thought of always having those memories with her.

*****

Darcy got up before the sun and made a pot of coffee. She was a coffee person anyway, but this morning she really needed it. While it was brewing, she brushed her teeth, pulled her mid-length hair into a ponytail, and slipped on her favorite maxi dress.

She poured a cup of coffee and went out on the balcony which overlooked the ocean. The soothing sound of the crashing waves calmed her nerves. She checked her phone. It was almost time.

Darcy took the last sip of her coffee and went back inside. “Liz,” she called out, “it’s time to go.”

*****

The two friends sat on the white sandy beach together. No one was out on this stretch of beach this early in the morning. Darcy thought it was quite nice. “You know, Liz, when you told me about this plan, I thought it was a little crazy.” Darcy could feel the tears threatening to spill. “I didn’t know if I could even do it. But now I’m glad you planned this beach trip.”

Liz put her plan into place only weeks before, unbeknownst to Darcy. Liz had taken care of everything, including securing the condo and paying in advance. Darcy knew nothing about it until Liz’s husband, Shane, showed up at her house one week after the memorial service. He gave Darcy a note from Liz and a beautifully ornate urn that contained half of Liz’s ashes.

The sun was rising over the ocean, streaking the sky pink and orange. As instructed by Liz, Darcy opened the urn and rose to her feet. “I love you, Liz. This world won’t be the same without you. I won’t be the same without you.”

Darcy started to walk along the beach with the remains of her dearest friend. It was the last time they would do this, their last beach trip. The breeze did its job wonderfully, and spread Liz’s ashes amongst the place she loved most on earth.

 

*********

This is my story for June, part of my year long quest to write a short story or flash fiction for each month of the year. Confession: I did write this a while back!

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