I step out on the balcony to get some air, the warm ocean breeze a refreshing change to the smoky air inside. Very faintly on the breeze, I can hear something that sounds like someone singing. I leap over the edge of the balcony and almost fall down a dune. It’s definitely someone singing, down here the sound is much clearer, but I still can’t make out the words, just the melody, which seems oddly familiar.
I walk toward a dune closer to the water and see the silhouette of a girl sitting on the sand staring out toward the water and the sunset. Her voice is clear, but soft and her words are covered by the pounding surf, so I walk closer to try and hear what she’s singing.
“Go where you will, but let your path come back to me. You can let your body wander, but know that your heart will always be here with mine. But don’t worry, I’ll take care of it just like you’ve taken care of me…”
“And as you leave, I’ll stand and watch you go cause I know that it’s not too long before you’ll come running back to me, oh my baby I don’t want to let you go,” I sing with her as I walk up behind her.
She whirls around and pierces me with charcoal eyes.
“I’m Tyler,” I say, rooted to the spot by her penetrating gaze.
“Zoë,” she says in a voice edged slightly in steel, with a slight accents on the last letter of her name.
“Can I join you?”
She nods and I sit down next to her and look out at the water. She stiffens slightly as she glances at me from the corner of her eye.
“You’ve got a good voice.”
“Thanks. Raven liked it, too.”
“Who’s Raven?” I ask.
She wraps her arms around her knees and rests her head on her knees. “Raven is…was…an old friend.”
I nod. “What happened?”
Zoë turns away and I realize this is a touchy subject.
“Never mind, if it’s too personal, don’t worry about it. I was just curious.”
Zoë shrugs as she faces me again. “Just remember the cat.”
I smile. “I won’t turn out like the cat, promise.”
My phone goes off and she looks back out at the water. It’s a text from Ryan, asking where I am. He does realize that he watched me walk out of the house, right?
“Have to go?”
I nod and stand. “It was nice to meet you, Zoë. I’ll see you around?” I ask hopefully.
She shrugs. “Probably. But you should probably go, Ryan and Aaron are looking for you.”
“Tyler! Why’d you leave?” Aaron asks too loudly compared to the quiet conversation Zoë and I were just having.
I turn and start walking down the dune toward them. “I needed to get some air for a moment, and I met this girl…” I turn back around, but Zoë’s gone.
“There’s no girl there. You sure you’re feeling okay?” Ryan asks.
“But there was…never mind,” I say as I turn away from the dune. “So what do you want?”
“Just because you’re the one that didn’t want to be in the band doesn’t mean that you can leave and do whatever you want while we’re rehearsing,” Aaron says as he claps me on the back. I let them lead me back to Ryan’s house, still thinking of Zoë and wondering who she is.