The next morning was silent.
The beach house felt abandoned and the memories from my conversation with Amanda fell on me like the hard hail that usually fell in the Summer time in Toronto. Every word that I had let drop from my mouth was a reminder of myself slowly moving away from Jacob's death, even if part of me wasn't ready yet.
I went downstairs to the kitchen after showering and changing into a black and blue bikini. Grabbing a mug from the cupboard I heard voices outside through the opened sliding doors. After pouring some milk into the mug I walked towards the sound of my family racing around outside on the sand.
Angela's bright pink swimsuit sparkled in the sunlight as she ran away from the grabbing hands of my mom. Dad was sitting on the patio watching the two having fun and he occasionally laughed at the happy screams escaping Angela's mouth.
I walked out into the salty air and instantly felt the heat on my skin. My hair was tied back into a messy bun and I sat in one of the patio chairs.
"Hey Ave," dad said as he watched me steal one of his pieces of bacon. "How was last night?"
"Fine," I shrugged and looked over at my sister and mom.
"Your mom and I want you to join us tonight, we're going out for dinner at a little Cuban restaurant that we found yesterday and we're sure you'll like it." He squeezed my cheek like he used to do when I was Angela's age. "Ave, we miss you. I know it's been hard on you after everything with Jacob, but do you think he'd want you to pull away from your family?"
I ate the piece of bacon slowly and barely looked up as my mom ran past me into the house. Dad gave me one last pull on my cheek and went after my mom. I could hear Angela playing by the shore.
"Big, big castles!" Her little voice carried towards the patio and I stole another piece of bacon from my dad's plate. I thought about his comment about me pulling away and how Jacob would think of my actions.
He never judged me. He'd always challenge me with questions to learn how I felt about a certain situation and then he would comfort me. With my family it didn't feel the same. I preferred the solidarity of a quiet life while they enjoyed the exploration of new places and cultures.
Then I heard her. At first she was quiet, muted by the waves, but then her voice was shrilling at me. A chill ran down my spine as I looked over at the shore and couldn't see Angela anywhere.
"Avey!" She called for me, but I couldn't see her. Where was she?
"Angie!" I yelled running towards the beach. I looked back quickly towards the house. "Mom, dad!"
It felt like I was having an out of body experience. The wild, desperate screams of my little sister didn't feel real. My heart throbbed painfully as I looked around and couldn't see her anywhere. My feet burned under the hot sand and my back ached from the sudden movement of jumping up. I heard the loud shuffling of feet behind me on the patio as my parents appeared from the house. I heard something heavy drop onto the wooden floor of the patio and my mom rushed past me until the salt water reached her knees.
"Angela!" She screamed as she looked around frantically. Dad ran by me as he snapped out of his sudden attack of shock and followed my mother into the water. I sank slowly to the ground as I watched my parents' frantic search for my little sister. I felt sick to my stomach and all I could hear were the ghostly sounds of her pleas.