Meal Beach, Burra Isles, Shetland by Robin Gosnall via Magpie Tales
Never in his life had Colin Haverhill woken to the sound of applause, or being shusshed as if he were making too much noise in the library. It took little time to realize that now was not one of those times. A saline tang in his nose and gritty coldness digging into his back and neck told him differently. It was cool on the morning beach. The waves welcomed him back to life.
He opened his eyes. It took some effort, crusted as they were with sand and the granular residue of tears. A disconcerting split second of tugging and his eyelids snapped open on the cerulean dome of the sky arching overhead. It was a blue he had not known he missed, it was the lightning blue of her eyes, the kind of blue that made him ache. His heart spasmed. The metallic sharpness of it caused him to sit bolt upright, and cough.
Shivering, he spat into the sand. The dregs of a few too many wee heavies coated the insides of his mouth. His head ached. The ghost of the drink was on him, he could tell, but not so bad he wanted to turn himself inside out. Small miracle, that, he thought. Dragging his hand across parched and flaking lips, he looked up to get his bearings.
Small beach, empty save for himself, a lone seabird and some tide-wrack. Low hills across the way. Green sward behind him. Out by the headland, his aching eyes spotted something that could have been a boat. Or a figment. He didn't know. It was then that the color of the water caught his attention.
Her eyes again. Liquid blue, shifting like the wavelets between aqua and lapis and the sky. In some lights it was flecked with gold. He never had been able to predict how they would present. Her mood, the sun, so much beauty in the moment it often left him speechless, breathless. Especially when she laughed.
The sea lapped the beach. He told himself it wasn't her voice he heard. She was gone, he was lost, now somewhere on the wrong side of the world. But the waves kept crashing in no matter where he ran. They were smaller, Colin granted, but amplitude squares the force now and forever. The waves curled in endless lace upon the strand, each one a hammer on the bell of his heart.