The strong orange hues fade away, the prettiest shade of lilac pushing them to the edge of the horizon as the sun says its final goodbye. In a few minutes, deep midnights and royal blues will blanket the sky, but until then, the lilac dances with the gray-blues and faint blushes, uninterrupted by stray clouds.
I swing off the dirty beige hanging chair that’s always fought over, the urge to capture my favorite moment overcoming the chair’s comfort. There are a thousand copies of this sunset sitting in my gallery that won’t see the light of day until months into the cold winter, when I crave nothing but the warmth of my friends’ laughter and the summer sun on my skin.
I ignore my friend’s shriek of “help!” as she is pushed by another trying for ownership of the best seat. I walk closer to the beach, my sandals clicking against pavement and my feet avoiding the last few bees that are inexplicably captivated by the little stream of water puddling by the gate, just as I am inexplicably captivated by dusk. The photographs I take join my infinite gallery, replicas of sunsets past but original in the memories that stain them.
Tomorrow, I will say my final goodbye, much like the sun did tonight. I will leave—leave the suspension of time that summer always brings, leave my laughing friends, leave my favorite shade of purple, leave the sea and the salt and my clicking sandals, leave the bees that work like clockwork, leave the beige chair. My freckles will fade, my calluses will heal, and my hair will darken.
It is, in reality, not a permanent goodbye; it is a “see you soon,” a “catch you later,” an “until next time.” But in this moment, it is a farewell; it is a mournful departure, an uncertainty, a doubt, that I will, in fact, see you soon, or catch you later, or that there will be a next time. I leave now, returning to some life, some reality, some truth where I am infinitely less content; some place where the comfortingly obnoxious crickets and the splashes of waves don’t lull me to sleep.