For The Love of Block Island
will be coming soon.
Sean Wolf stood on the beach staring out into the summer horizon. His thoughts drifted in various directions as a gentle breeze rolled off the shore. Only two years earlier he stood in this very spot and said goodbye to Kate, his girlfriend of four years. She passed away shortly after being diagnosed with cancer. It was here that the Princess Augusta appeared, and Kate finally left, allowing herself to rest in peace.
Ever since that evening, Sean has referred to this stretch of beach that sat below the bluff just a bit away from the Southeast Lighthouse as the Princess Augusta Beach. It quickly became his sacred place when he needed alone time and wanted a conversation with Kate. To him, it wasn’t strange, and he didn’t know if she heard him, but that didn’t matter. Talking to Kate turned out to be just a way of working out the challenges he faced. Only his cousin Teagan Murphy and his good friend, Tom Norris, knew why he visited here—and how often.
The heat of the late July morning even at the early hour of ten am, caused him to wipe a bead of salty sweat out of his right eye. Being blonde haired and light complexioned, Sean had to take precautions. He wore his favorite hat, though tattered and frayed after four years of wear, knowing he would need protection for his head and eyes. His great grandfather died from melanoma, and Sean knew not to follow in his footsteps. Prior to his visit to the beach, he slathered himself with sunscreen before leaving The Spring House.
The wind whipped around, blowing his hat off. It rolled toward the water, and Sean raced after it. Being one of the last gifts Kate had given him; he couldn’t bear to lose it. Although he knew he should let the hat go, especially after coming to terms with Kate being gone, it had been a struggle.
He had found love again, with Heather. It took him a while to realize he loved her, and he knew that letting Kate go would only bring him closer to Heather. He placed his hand in the pocket of his khaki shorts, happy now that he’d chosen to wear the shorts instead of long pants. He gripped the small black box that he’d been carrying with him for the past three months.
Sighing now, with the hat back in his hands, he stared off in the distance, praying, perhaps hoping Kate would come walking out of some other dimension and give him the answer he needed. Continuing to play with the box in his pocket, he knew that wouldn’t happen. They already said everything that needed saying two years earlier. Still Sean kept returning here. He wore this hat when he came because he thought it might be a key to unlocking the doorway to that other dimension. He often wondered what Heather would think if she knew why he spent so much time at this part of the beach. Seems as much as he tried to convince himself he put Kate aside, he still couldn’t completely let her go.
No one meant more to him now than Heather. He’d come to have deeper feelings for her than anyone he’d ever known and sometimes that frightened him. He feared that by having such feelings, he discounted the love he once felt for Kate. But Kate assured him that night on this very beach, that by loving someone else, she felt all the love he had for her.
The box in his pocket continued to press against his thigh. “Oh, Kate,” he said into the wind, placing his tattered and worn hat back on his head. “I do think it’s time.” And he reached inside his pocket and withdrew the box. Opening it, he exposed a diamond ring. Showing it to the horizon, he said, “what do you think?”
He closed the cover and put the box back in his pocket. Strolling closer to the shore where the ocean met the beach, he stuck his Teva covered feet in the warm water, then with some apprehension, Sean took his hat off, stared at it for a long moment, wondering whether he could finally let this last vestige of history go. He continued to stare into the water and finally with some final unease, he kissed the hat, then flung it as hard as he could into the pounding surf. A final goodbye to the past.
He sat there for a while, watching as the old, tattered hat drifted out with the tide. A part of him wanted to race after it, however, he remained still, just soaking up the breeze. He needed to close that door before he could climb through the window. Sean smiled; a forlorn bittersweet smile as he put his hand around the box in his pocket one final time. “I’ll always love you, Kate,” he said, closing his eyes. “It’s easier to let you go because I have Heather in my life.” He felt tears streaming down his face and he opened his eyes, wiping them away.
After the tears stopped, he stood up and took one final look at the horizon. The hat just now sinking below the water, carrying with it all the emotions he felt bottled up, all the memories he cherished. He thought back to the first time he flew Kate over Block Island. How excited she felt to see the pork chop shaped rock appear. He thought about his initial trip here after Kate passed when he met a local realtor on the ferry. Memories continued to flood his mind, and they probably always would. He didn’t want to forget, but Sean knew the time to move on.