Willow loved the sea. She had grown up with the fish, spending vast amounts of time frolicking in the oceans tranquil waters. She lived in a small town on an Island in Vancouver. Ever since she was a young child, Aubrey, Willow’s mother had taken her to the beach in the summer to play in the sand and with all the small crabs that scurried past her feet. Now, as a young woman of nineteen she visited the sea whenever she could.
Willow walked along the edge of the shore, where the water clashed with the land and made her weekly journey down the long stretch of white sand. An older man named Stephan, who sold jewelry by the seashore approached her.
“Ah, Willow,” he said, “a new bracelet to fit onto your lovely wrist?” He smiled kindly at her. She had bought from Stephan before and decided to do so again, almost feeling sorry for the old man.
“Okay.” She said, smiling and picked out a bracelet made out of small blue rocks.
“Oh yes, wonderful choice!” he exclaimed, “eleven dollars.” She handed him the money and he thanked her and went on his way. She fastened the bracelet to her wrist and kept walking. She stopped half way before reaching the other side and turned to face the ocean. Water lapsed at her feet and like the breeze, it was cool and refreshing and she greeted her blue, shapeless friend with a familiar smile. Breathing in deeply, Willow remembered as a child telling her mother that if she could bottle the scent of seaweed into perfume she’d wear it everyday. She just couldn’t get enough of that wonderful briny smell that over-whelmed her senses and lingered for days in her sandy blonde hair. When she opened her eyes she was greeted by a light pink sunrise that reflected off the water and onto her tanned, freckled face.
Willow had walked along the shore for an hour and was nearing the end when squinting, she noticed something pinned against a pile of large, edged rocks. She couldn’t tell if it was a log or some type of animal. As she ambled closer her heart began to race. She saw the outline of a body. It swayed against the rocks with the tempo of the waves. Adrenalin raced through her body and demanded her legs to take off into a steady sprint. It was difficult running in the sand, but she reached the person and noticed it was a young man dressed only in a pair of drenched black jeans. He looked pale and the skin on his hands and feet were wrinkled from the salt water. Willow did her best to drag the body out of the water and far enough away from the rocks as not to worry about the sharp edges. The young man didn’t move. She lay him down on the sand, tired and feeling weak from carrying his weight. His shoulders were broad, his torso lean and muscled. Carefully she placed her finger underneath his nose and tried to recall anything she had learned in school about CPR. After a few seconds she felt a soft, warm puff of breath release against her finger.
“Thank god,” she whispered, relived . The boys mouth opened and he choked out a mouthful of water.
“We have to get you to a hospital.” She said, not sure if he was conscious enough to understand her. But then he shook his head. “No,” he grunted, “you cant.” When she tried to sit him up he resisted and said again, “No.”
She thought he was delirious.
“It’s okay, I’m here to help you. You nearly drowned, we need to get you help.” She tried again to lift him into a sitting position and this time, struggling he sat up awkwardly.
She no longer smelt the salty breeze of the ocean, nor heard the distant cries of hungry seagulls. Her full attention clutched on desperately to this stranger.
He wiped the water away from his eyes and slowly opened them, taking in his surroundings. She was taken aback by the harsh green pigment of his irises. He steadied himself and Willow let go from holding him upright.
“Is anything broken?” She asked him, generally worried. Instead of answering her question he asked her one of his own.
“What’s your name?” A little crease formed in the center of her forehead.