by Miles Rost
Salt and pepper.
The sands of the beach reminded Dennis of salt and pepper in his shakers at home. The fine and nearly bleached white of the sand mixed in contrast with the deep dark, almost charcoal-like black sand. Strewn in patterns like old growth tree rings, the sand was a testament to the changing of the tides.
Dennis had arrived at the beach a couple hours before sunset. He carefully laid his blanket atop the ebony and ivory sands, and pitched a bright, almost beanie-like umbrella next to him. A small, blue cooler lazed next to his arm, one side of the cooler open and displaying a tub full of nearly clear-blue ice and frosty bottles of his favorite beer. A cold bottle lay cradled in his left arm, like a newborn baby awaiting the full display of golden colored awesomeness inside it’s glass shell.
The hair on Dennis’s apple-shaped head was thinning. The years of work allowed the gray and white to start seeping in, dark wrinkles showing themselves like folds of clothing on his face. His face was leathery and aged, but he still showed the kindness in his eyes that he inherited from many generations of people. Capped off by a pair of dark blue wraparound sunglasses, his deep blue eyes pierced the skies and aimed straight for the sunset in the distance.
He shifted positions on his blanket, the white cotton of his t-shirt moving ever so slightly as he tried to relax.
The time was almost near, and as the warm trade winds came in from off the ocean, he focused on the gigantic orange orb of light and power in the far skies. Like a slow-motion play of a basketball as it approached the basket, the sun creeped towards the horizon. Dennis opened the top of the bottle of beer just as the bottom of the sun reached the horizon. He lifted the bottle upwards and flipped it, letting the light amber colored liquid flow from the bottle, into his mouth and the taste buds that awaited the moment. The sensation of cold quickly spread throughout his body as the sun continued to descend.
He looked out on the bay and saw a variety of different craft that , while playing many hours ago, were now focused on the spectacular display of light. The different colors of boats were no longer seen as the entirety of sky and sun were bathed in a deepening orange. By this time, the sun was already halfway below the horizon.
Dennis flipped the bottle again and took a long pull from it, letting the beer drain into his gullet. As he finished the bottle, he looked out at the sun. All but a sliver were gone. As the sun finally descended, he sat back and watched the last vestiges of sunlight disappear below the horizon. He sighed, knowing that the next one was merely 24 hours away.
He slowly packed up his things. Taking the bottle, he put it on the other side of his cooler and shut the lid. He picked up his blanket and folded it into very neat and tidy squares. He walked slowly up the path next to where he sat, and to his waiting car 25 feet away. Once he arrived at his car, he put everything into the trunk and pulled out a tuxedo. Attaching the tuxedo to the rear seat of his car, he got in and backed out. Taking one last look at the horizon, the orange color of the sky was starting to turn reddish and purplish.
He turned on his headlights, and didn’t look back for the rest of the night.