Donald R. Fletcher, author
The beach was empty, still closed out of fear of the pandemic. She didn’t care. She was there for a week, at her grandmother’s house that was built right up against this scrap of dune, and the weather was beautiful. The sun was filling with spangles the troughs of breaking waves, almost too bright to look at, even through sun-glasses, and there was a warm breeze, stirring and rustling a cluster of tall sea grass.
She yawned and stretched luxuriantly, on their blanket on the dune. This was her high school graduation present from her grandmother, a week at the beach. And Mike was there, too, sitting cross-legged at one edge of the blanket. He had driven down for the day, telling her this was his graduation gift to himself, to have most of the day and the evening with her. Languidly, he watched a small sailboat out on the water, and the black shape of a freighter far off on the shimmering horizon.
She wondered how much Mike really cared. They were graduates, now. Their high school years were behind them. A sign of that, for her, was the application process she was going through to study for a medical career. It would mean a long road, and a tough one, but if she qualified, it would be paid for. She had to make that top cut; it just had to be that way.
She looked at Mike, at the strong, clean line of his shoulders that suggested the lean strength of his athletic physique. Suppose things didn’t work out for her; would Mike stand by her? Would he still be there; if her air castles tumbled in? What if her health gave way, or if she didn’t pull through? She felt a wild impulse to try Mike out; just to know how real his love was.
“Mike,” she was saying, “yesterday, in this application process, they gave me a COVID-19 test. I’m telling you, though I’m scared to tell you, that I tested positive. I didn’t tell you sooner, and now you’ve come and I’ve maybe been infecting you.”
“That’s okay, my love,” Mike said. “Yesterday I had to get tested, too; and I’m positive, the same as you. Maybe the virus will get one or the other, or maybe both of us together.”
Author Notes: At age 101, and after publishing nine books, Don Fletcher is writing flash fiction and short prose pieces. Search by author name for his other short stories.