A Closet Door

The beginning of a story that I actually do plan on working on, perhaps later this year. 

Lisa’s radiant red hair burst into flaming curls, billowing in the wind as the sun hit the sandy shore. What a prize he had, better than he deserved, perhaps some might say. Let them. She enjoyed his company as much as he did hers. Through deep green eyes he could see into a soul that said as much. He got up from her side and headed to the door just then, leaving Lisa on the deck.

“Where are you going, my love,” Lisa asked, looking up at Dan’s back from the chaise.

“Nature calls; and when she does, a man must answer. I’ll be back shortly, my sweet.”

Not just nature calling, but warm pink flesh crying out for sunscreen as Dan noticed, passing the mirrored closet door in the nearby bathroom. Behind the door shelves held towels, soap, paper products and sundries fit for a beach house. He grabbed the SPF 50; no more sun today or pain comes tonight. As he closed the door, he caught another glimpse in the mirror. A man with the same brown eyes he expected to see, but with lines in his face and graying temples looked back at him. A slight paunch around the middle. He blinked. Shook his head. Turned away and back again, gazing at the unfamiliar image. Something in the food. The drink. Too much sun. He had to check on Lisa; with Lisa—she could bring him back. Before getting to the open deck door, he could hear the strains of a familiar song. It sounded—not quite as he remembered. Not the same, somehow.

“Lisa,” he called out, “what’s that music?” forgetting for the moment the disturbing vision he saw in the mirror as he approached the door.

“Why it’s our song, silly, The Silken Sea,” she laughed, mischief in her voice.

He saw her then, through the door, sitting at a teak table, a steaming mug in hand. Under a cloudy sky in a bulky sweater with a collar curled up around her neck against a chill wind. Dark skies suggested rain coming soon coming to the rocky shore.

“What—what happened? Where is this place? What happened to the sun? The sand? Your hair!”

“Dan, Dan—what has happened to you! You just went inside to use the bathroom a couple minutes ago. Happy as a lark and smiling. It’s our beach house; the one we come to every summer. There’s no sand here; this is Northern California—nothing but rocks and glorious waves. “

“But—but, it’s not the way I remembered. Your red hair, your green eyes! The warm sun?”

“Dan, I have never had red hair. My eyes are green but—you’re scaring me, Dan. Maybe you are coming down with something. Let’s go inside.”

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