There are more people around me now that the tourist season is starting. Dad and I used to sit in the center of it all under a big blue umbrella with bubbling fish when I was a kid. We would watch the burned women who thought that tanning meant burning first, the men who would sneak sips of alcohol in water bottles, and the teenage girls who would wear flashy bikinis for the local boys. Those were the kind of summers that dad wanted me to never forget, the ones full of memories good or bad.
Now I sit almost in the center, like I once did so long ago, but by myself. The large blue umbrella overhead keeps the sun's bright rays away from my already too-tanned skin and I watch the waves rolling in lazily like they always do in July. I'm so entranced with the waves and the beach goers that I don't notice someone coming up behind me.
"Hey," I hear a familiar voice and close my eyes, steeling myself and hoping that I'm not just imagining his voice. "Is there any chance that I can sit there without getting sand in my face?"
I sweep my hand over the spot that he can sit on and he sits down beside me, letting his long legs stretch out in front of us. "What are you doing here?" I say, looking at his red shorts and off-white shirt--anything but his face.
"Now I know how much that question hurts."
I look over at him and take in his curly hair, long eyelashes and naturally red lips. His brown eyes are sincere and I look away quickly. "Yeah," I say quietly. "It does."
"I'm sorry," he says. I can feel him staring at me but I don't dare look at him. "I'm sorry for saying everything I said, for treating you the way I did. I'm sorry for hurting you."
"That makes two of us."
"Ly," he takes my chin and forces me to look at him. I can see some freckles on his nose and the look of them is so innocent that it doesn't match his wild appearance. "Please, listen to me when I say that I'm sorry."
"I'm listening," I inform him, "I'm always listening and I think that's what hurts the most."
He looks at me and licks his lips out of nervousness. "I was, am hurt about what happened seven years ago--"
"And you think I'm not?" I challenge him. "I cried for hours Dylan, begging my mom to at least let me say goodbye to you." Tears form in my eyes and I look down as he loosens his hold on my chin. "I begged her to let me call you when we got to Toronto, but she always just said 'I'm sorry', before saying no."
"Ly," he says softly.
"You may have suffered Dylan," I cry, "but you weren't the only one."