Sunset Orange Crush, a short story, goes on sale today, August 1st, for $0.99 Kindle and Nook (available for Kindle app and Nook app on your tablet)!!!
I'm so excited to share with you my new short story! I hope you enjoy it. I hope you share it with your friends. And, I thank all of you for your helpful comments so far and all your support.
Just for you, my loyal blog readers, here's a free glimpse of the first few pages.
SUNSET ORANGE CRUSH
a short story
by Audry Fryer
Dry sand sifts through my fingers, slipping away like the years since I last walked this beach.
It is early August. While this time of year has held no special meaning for the majority of my life, recently it took on greater significance. One year ago, I marched into the kitchen of a trendy Beverly Hills restaurant, grabbed a prep knife and pinned a note displaying these three words, “I quit, Ali.” I went back to my apartment that echoed with emptiness ever since my ex-boyfriend left with all his belongings and half of mine. Determined to leave California far behind, I packed up every last bit of what I had left. My imagination took me to far flung destinations, France, Mexico, Tahiti, South Africa. I had saved enough money to take me anywhere I wanted to go. The possibilities invigorated my sense of freedom. All I needed was a compass to point me in the correct direction.
In my enthusiasm for adventure, I grabbed for a box wedged in the back of my closet and perched high on a shelf. It proved heavier than I expected. I tried to keep my balance and almost succeeded, almost. Its contents spilled in an avalanche across my hard wood floors. I heard a high pitched clink; the unmistakable, dreadful sound of shattering glass. I sifted through the mess catching the tip of my finger on a shard. I recoiled both from the pain and from the recognition of what I had broken. I knew as I cleaned up the bits of glass mixed with a pile of sand that I wouldn’t be heading to an exotic location, but to here, Lewes, Delaware.
The last of the sand escapes through my parted fingers with a small amount pooled in my palm. I rub my hands together leaving a few coarse grains clinging to my skin. I try to brush them away on the cotton fabric of my cover-up with little success. I should know better. There’s always a little bit of sand that follows you home, in the bottom of your beach bag, in the cuff of your shorts or plastered to your flip-flops. Memories cling to the corners of your mind like that, too.
“Do I know you?” an older woman, robust in size, asks as she approaches me.
I turn and look at the woman to see if she is someone recognizable. She gives me a warm smile sheltered by her wide brimmed hat. Her white cover-up billows, a cloud in the breeze. I shake my head and say, “I think you may have me confused with someone else.”
“Oh, I’m sorry dear,” the woman says. “I was hoping you were the young lady I so enjoyed speaking with the last few summers. I’ve been worried about her. Last time I saw her, she was very sick.” The woman motions with her hand around her head and whispers, “she was wearing a scarf. Most unfortunate.”
“Oh, how sad,” I say. The vision of this young woman stricken with illness, most likely cancer, appears so clearly in my mind. It is as if I can see her standing on the shore, gazing at the surf with the sea breeze whipping the scarf on her head like one of those hurricane warning flags.
“Well, you have a good day,” the woman says.
“Oh, uh, you too,” I reply.
The woman nods and continues down the slope of the dune. She shifts her weight carefully. Her progress is slow and cautious. I watch her with an acute interest. Maybe I’m worried she will fall. Maybe it’s something else. For whatever reason, my attention remains on this woman when she glances back at me. Embarrassed, I wave at her. She doesn’t seem to notice my awkward attempt at levity. Instead, she says, “I hope you find what you lost.”
The woman turns, almost as if she hadn’t said anything at all. I wonder if I imagined it. I think about running after her and telling her I hadn’t been searching for anything in the sand that I might have lost. Had I?
I carry this question in my thoughts as my focus drifts away from the woman and meanders across the hills and valleys of the massive sand dune that compromises the lower tip of Delaware, a place referred to as The Point in Cape Henlopen State Park. My gaze pauses at the short lighthouse that punctuates the dune’s end. Maybe I am searching for one thing. But, I’m not sure I could ever recapture the magic of that summer.
It was in my last days of innocence that my parents rented the seaside cottage for the summer. That fall I would be heading off to culinary school and part of me knew that my whole life was on the cusp of changing irreversibly. I had these next ten weeks to savor. And did I ever, like a syrupy sweet salt water taffy, the kind that you could pull into long delightfully sticky strands and spend the better part of an hour devouring.
My first impression of Leah had been how her golden sunshine hair curled around her face as she pedaled past me on her bike. “Follow me,” she simply said. I remember obeying her orders though we never formerly met, hopping onto my own bike and following in her wake. We rode across the sleepy coastal town known less for its history of being “The first town in the first state” than for its ferry destination linking it to the New Jersey Cape. We entered the state park and ditched our bikes here at The Point. We talked, we laughed and a friendship like no other I’ve ever had before or after was created. We became inseparable and to our delight, people often wondered if we were twins. While my hair had deeper amber tones than Leah’s and my skin tanned easily while Leah’s preferred to burn, our statures and our mannerisms matched with an uncanny similarity. I tugged my ear whenever I was nervous, so did Leah. I made up my own lyrics when I couldn’t remember the words to a song, so did Leah. I loved black licorice flavored salt water taffy, so did Leah. I had a crush on the boy who worked at his uncle’s bait and tackle shop for the summer, so did Leah.
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For more about this short story, my other two novels and some fun facts about me
check out: www.audryfryer.com