Young Adult Fiction posted July 10, 2019

This work has reached the exceptional level
Four young adults and two parents going to the beach

A secret and a trip to the beach

by Yuna Akil

"ARE WE ALL READY?" MR. Moore asked from the door.

It looked like we were, or at least I was. Knowing it was already twenty minutes past noon, Mr. Moore and my mother waited outside the porch for the rest of the group to come. Jacob and I stood inside, waiting for Melanie and Winter. Melanie walked down the stairs wearing sunglasses and a blue bikini with very short shorts. Her brown hair hung above one shoulder, and she wore some jewelry around her arm.

"Have you ever been to the beach, Kyle?" she asked.

"Yes. We used to live on the coast before my dad died."

"I guess it's time for you to return to your natural habitat, then, lost boy," she said and smiled. She looked at Jacob. "What you looking at?" Then she gave him a dirty look.

Jacob did not wear a shirt, only sunglasses, green shorts, and flip flops. He ignored her. "Where are your sunglasses, Kyle?" he asked.

"Ah, I don't have any," I said.

"Geez, what were you thinking when you packed? Go to my room and see what you can find."

"I'll go with you," said Melanie.

"No, thanks. This lost boy can find his own way."

Jacob laughed. Later, after he settled down, he went to Mel and whispered to her, "Not everyone wants you."

"I am glad you're not everyone then," she said.

I took that as my cue to leave. I crossed the family room and walked up the staircase. I made my way to Jacob's bedroom, which had the same scent from when I had arrived last night, the smell of a white college boy mixed with sea-salt and sweat. I looked around for sunglasses, but it was hard to find anything under the shirts, shorts, and underwear laying atop everything. One of his boxers had stuck to one of his trophies. I wondered how in the world that could've gotten there.

Most of his trophies were soccer-related--two states championship, 2011 MVP, and a tri-state medal. Jacob also had two sectionals for basketball and a medal for baseball from freshmen year of high school.

"What you looking for?" asked Winter, who had scared me colorless--as a figure of speech. Black boys like me didn't get uncolored.

"I was just looking for sunglasses."

"Here," she opened a drawer. "Try this one," she said and handed me a pair of aviators. "It looks fantastic," she said after I put them on. "Now, can you do me a favor? Will you help with my bikini? I can't tie it together."

I blushed and thanked heaven she faced away from me. Winter smelled like makeup powder and sunscreen, and also of guy's deodorant. I tied her bikini top.

"Okay, now let's go. My dad's probably losing his mind."

The two of us raced outside the house and met with the rest of the group. Winter made a commentary about black people being faster or something, but I tuned it out. The exceptionally sunny Southern California weather greeted us like an oven greeted seasoned fish. But at least the wind cooled us down, blowing fresh and moist and with the force of coastal weather. The air itself felt light though, and drained the weight of my body away. I floated like a seagull flying above the navy blue, salty water. Waves crashed upon themselves and gave way to ocean sounds I could hear from the distance.

Jacob and Mel also smelled like pasty sunscreen, and I wondered if I should've put some on, too. I almost asked my mom about how to properly care for my skin, but she had lost herself on Mr. Moore's eyes.

As we walked to the beach, Jacob turned around and walked backward. The reason why was a mystery, but since he turned, I could get a close up of his upper body, especially with sunglasses on. His body was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

"So," Melanie said to me. "What is that secret we were talking about last night?"

My soul froze. I could not let her know. I could not let her, or Winter, or anybody, especially Jacob, know I liked guys. So, please don't you tell anyone. It wasn't enough to be black and awkward, I also had to be gay. But, really, please don't tell.

At the Beach contest entry


Narrator: Kyle, Layla's son
Jacob: Mr. Moore's son, Winter's brother.
Winter: Mr. Moore's daughter, Jacob's sister.
Melanie: Winter's best friend.
Layla: Kyle's mother, engaged to Mr. Moore.
Mr. Moore: Winter's and Jacob's father, engaged to Layla.

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© Copyright 2019. Yuna Akil All rights reserved.
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