Here comes Summer.
The wind blew in from the sea, redolent with salt spray and the heady dreams of summer. The morning breeze, cooled by the water of the bay, gently stocked the rosy curls of the girl who waited on the beach. Spreading her skirts on the pale sand, she waited, shielding her eyes against the bright light that shimmered on the wavelets lapping the shore. The morning was so peaceful and she sat on the sand and waited. Would he come? There was no way to be sure but she wanted to be sure and so she waited.
Please let him come! There was so much at stake here. He had to come today! She couldn't wait any longer! It was going to be a long day but she had to see him now.
The wind blew from across the sea, redolent with salt spray and the heady dreams of summer. The morning breeze puffed out the striped sails on the small, sea-going yacht. Seated at the tiller, the young man shielded his eyes against the bright light that shimmered on the wave crests rushing past the hull. A frown uncharacteristically creased his brow as he struggled to come to terms with the decisions he had to make. He'd been turning over the questions about his future for weeks now and there was still that doubt that tormented his nights. Now the time had come to make a decision and learn to live with it. No doubts.
As the sun rose higher, and the day wore on, Popuri retired beneath a large, striped beach umbrella. She'd expected Kai to arrive by now but, well, the day was young yet and he wasn't exactly the most reliable of men. It was precisely this streak of unpredictability that had attracted Popuri to Kai in the first place. He was so different from everything she knew. He was such fun to be with, opening up new horizons for her, experiences that took her away from the everyday and commonplace. For the last five summers he'd arrived on the summer tide and, for three months, he'd lightened her life. In that first year he'd captured her heart. Each year since Popuri had longed for his return and spent her summers by his side. No, it was four years as one year he hadn't turned up and she had been broken hearted. The following year he'd been back, his usual irreverent self, but with no excuses for that missed summer. Popuri had learned that although he was fun there was a dangerous edge to such a relationship. Idly, she traced their names in the sand and sipped a cooling drink. Yes, she'd always looked forward to Kai's arrival and this year she had something special to tell him.
It was late, where was he? He'd never been this late before. Surely he'd be here soon! He must have got her letters. All the dreams she'd had, last year, this year, So much depended on today. Of course she'd known she was playing with fire but it had been so exciting. She needed Kai; he was her way out of this backwater. Of course he loved her, he must after all they'd done. He must! She gnawed at her nails and settled down to wait for Kai.
As the sun rose higher and the day wore on Kai expertly tacked around the peninsula and set course for his summer destination. He spent his year moving around from one place to another, a week here, a season there, but the Sea Bird was his real home. He was a lone bird, had been for most of his adult life and he preferred it that way. Or did he? Winter was spent at moorings along the Rainbow coast, braving storms and making necessary repairs. He took any work he could and prayed for spring to come. By then the pressure of people and the claustrophobia of the city drove him back to the sea. Spring was spent exploring, moving from island to island, acquiring goods and trading around. Summer was spent in Mineral Town and Forget-me-not Valley, where he could open his beach café and live the easy life. But by autumn he was already restless and the sea would call to him again. He was happy with his life or he had been until the last few years. Something kept calling him back to Mineral Town. Popuri? She was so different from anyone else he knew, gentle yet strong, innocent but wise. Kai had found her company interesting, at first but she had come to mean more to him with each passing year. Kai loved Popuri, yes he did! He found his mind constantly going back to her wishing she were close. He loved her, of that he had no doubt, but was he in love with her? If he loved her so much why wasn't he faithful to her? Something drove him to betray her and he hadn't even cared if she found out. Not even for one summer could he be true to her. Even as he screwed her friends he felt sick at what he was doing but he didn't stop. Then her letters came. If he went back this year it had to be more and he didn't know if he could do that. Yes, he loved Popuri but he loved his freedom more. If he returned now and took up his responsibilities, marriage to Popuri, fatherhood she'd know everything and just how long would things last. No, he wouldn't do it. All those summer dreams just wouldn't survive the cold winds of winter. Right up until today he dreamt he could go back and everything would be fine. Then the doubts had crowded in until those rosy dreams had turned to ash. Resolutely, he tacked again and turned his face away from Mineral Town, Popuri and love.
Popuri felt a hand gently shake her shoulder and she yawned and stretched, startled to find that the sun was setting.
"Hi, " Jack smiled down at her. " Come on Honey, it's time to go home" He reached down and helped her to her feet, drawing her into his arms. "I'm sorry he didn't come, I truly am."
Popuri snuggled in close and dusted the grains of sand from her skirts.
"It's alright Jack," she murmured. "It doesn't really matter. I only wish he'd come so that I could tell him about us before he heard it from someone else. He deserves that much, at least."
"I know he's important to you, love" Jack assured her.
" Yes, I thought I was in love with once upon a time but I outgrew that some time ago," she explained. " Kai was fun and he'll always be my friend but that was all it ever could be for me. He was always no more that a dangerous fairy tale."
" Let's go home, Honey," Jack asked, as he led her away from the beach.
" Bye, Kai." Popuri called over her shoulder as she walked away with her husband, letting a purple bandana float away to the water's edge.
He didn't come!! Tears stung Karen's eyes as she hauled herself to her feet, pressing her hand into the small of her back. Her summer dreams had all faded now. She'd been so sure when she wrote to him about the baby that he come to help her. Oh yes, she knew she'd been stupid, sneaking down to the beach to meet Kai. After that first night when they'd both had too much to drink she should have stopped it but it was so exciting. It had made her feel alive. The dangerous side to both the affair and Kai himself had made her tingle. Everyone knew Popuri loved Kai but she was the one he made love to – no, had sex with – there on the beach, under the stars.
Karen stumbled from behind the sheds where she'd waited and curled up and the sands, her arms wrapped around her large, pregnant stomach. She wailed in disbelief, rejected, both of them rejected like last years fashions. Of course Rick had no doubts that the child was his Karen had made sure of that just as soon as she was sure she was expecting. He'd pleaded with her to marry him but marriage to Rick meant that she could never leave this place and so she had refused to give him an answer. Karen lifted her tear stained face to look out across the bay. There, on the edge of the sea, a purple bandana rolled in with the surf. She crawled across the sand and pressed the purple silk to her cheek. No! Kai had given her her answer. She let the strip of fabric fall away and got to her feet. Karen dashed the tears from her eyes. Rick would never know, she'd never give him reason to doubt her. As soon as this child was born she'd marry Rick. He loved her and she'd love him. There was no other way. Goodbye Kai. She turned and left the beach. Summer was here once more.