WHEN I WAS 13 YEARS OLD, my parents bought a house and lot near a beach in a faraway province. They planned for us to stay there for the whole summer starting that year. My older sister liked the idea, but I didn’t. I love vacations and beaches but I don’t want to spend my whole summer on a province. It’s just too quiet for me.
When we arrived at the house, I decided to go to the beach and play in the sand. I was trying to make a sandcastle but it collapsed and was destroyed. Suddenly, a girl with long black hair, wearing a white summer dress approached me.
“Want me help you make it?” she said.
“Ugh, s-sure” I said, nervously.
“I’m Laura. I’m 12 years old. What’s your name?” she asked.
“Charles. I-I'm 13.” I said.
She then taught me how to build a sandcastle. Since that day, we kept building sandcastles every afternoon. She became my friend and proved me wrong about this place.
During a festival, she invited our family for dinner in their house. They usually invite everyone in town every year. Her family were very rich since they own a corn plantation. They were respected by everyone. She’s even treated like a princess in their town! There was a fireworks display on the sea after dinner and their house just so happens to be on top of a cliff by the sea. It was just Laura and I on that balcony, watching the fireworks. It was a sight to behold.
WHEN I WAS 14 YEARS OLD, I started to have feelings for Laura. Her long black hair looks amazing, especially when the wind carries it. I can see how slim she is with that dress she’s always wearing. Her face keeps radiating happiness like the Sun. She suddenly looked beautiful. It was as if I’ve just met her now, but she always looked like this. I didn’t want to like her at first but I can’t stop anymore.
They invited us again for dinner, just like last year. Laura and I were sitting beside each other. I was so nervous, I barely ate anything. As the first rocket exploded, Laura stopped eating her slice of cake.
“Let’s go! It’s already starting.” she said as she grabbed my hand.
We ran to their balcony to see the fireworks. It was just me and her, on that dark balcony, watching the fireworks as they break the silence of the night. It felt magical and surreal. Should I tell her? Nah, I’m too embarrassed to say it. I’ll probably tell her next summer. Maybe these feelings would fade in a few months.
WHEN I WAS 15 YEARS OLD, my older sister got pregnant several months before summer. Her condition got worse so she was in bed rest for the remaining months. My parents can’t leave her so they decided that we stay for this summer.
“Her husband is already here! He can take care of her.” I said, hoping it would change their minds.
“Charles,” my father said. “One thing you should learn about family is that you never leave them behind.”
Laura was always on my mind. I can’t stop daydreaming about me and her on the beach building sandcastles, about me and her in their balcony watching the fireworks, about me and her being together.
I was wrong. These feelings didn’t fade, they grew stronger. If only I could see her right now. If only I could talk to her right now. If only I could be with her right now.
WHEN I WAS 16 YEARS OLD, my family came back to the island. Laura's family were waiting for us in the island’s port. When I saw her standing by the gate, I remembered how beautiful she truly is. I can see that she looked more mature. I approached her but she suddenly hugged me out of joy. This was the first time she hugged me! I was so surprised I could barely react!
We were at their balcony, again, watching the fireworks. I was finally with her, but I feel flustered and upset. I want to tell her now. I want to tell her that she’s very important to me. I want to tell her that I’d do anything for her. I want to tell her that I love her. I got nervous and I wasn’t able to tell her, but I’m not planning on giving up.
After the fireworks, I told Laura to come with me in our yacht. I brought her to the sea and was planning to confess there. Then, I noticed a storm was upon us and told her to stay inside the boat. The waves were violently battering the boat's hull. Wind was tearing up the sails like it was paper. I desperately tried to sail back shore, but I was thrown off of the boat. The waves threw me around and I was pushed underwater. There, I saw our boat sinking.
Suddenly, I was pulled up from the sea by a group of fishermen. I tried to search for her body but the storm grew worse and we were forced to leave. They also didn’t find anybody else floating in the sea other than me.
She’s gone. It’s because of me. If only I told her earlier, she wouldn’t have died! Laura, I’m sorry. Why am I the one that was saved? I want to die! I deserve to die!
Then I remembered; all these happened 30 years ago. I’m wearing this weird jacket, arms wrapped around my waist. I’m in this white, soft room. I’m screaming but I can’t hear a thing except this static noise from the room’s silence. It’s driving me insane! Take me back to the island. Take me back to the sandcastles and the fireworks. Take me back to Laura! I want to go back! I want to go back! I WANT TO GO BACK!
WHEN I WAS 13 YEARS OLD...