It had been years since Lily had been to this place. The years had worn away on her memory. Much of the wear and tear she welcomed. She had blocked out all the memories she had of this place. But being here made her feel like she had never left. It seemed like yesterday that she was a little girl again, smiling into his face. They were only children. Yet their world seemed perfect together.
She walked through the sand, feeling it seep between her toes, and remembered how he had told her they would get married someday. It made her smile to remember his child-like face, his little sweaty hand in hers, his big dark eyes and how they sparkled.
Then she saw it. It was barely visible, worn and smoothed out by the years of wind and water. But it was still there. She couldn't believe it was still there.
She ran her fingers over the sand stone and remembered him carving it out. The imperfect heart shape and their initials inside. G + L
Now her heart began to hurt. The reminder was plain before her. The deep wound to the right side of the heart was from a rock she had thrown at it after the accident.
She remembered feeling her body convulse in sobs, but not being able to hear them through the storm. She remembered the feel of her long wet hair sticking to her face, and the salty water sticking to her legs and clothing.
She remembered seeing George's cold, still body laying in the sand.
Lily blinked the memory away.
Suddenly this place didn't seem as warm. She looked up to the sky to see the sun had hidden behind a cloud. The sand beneath her feet was suddenly cooler than before. She stood and looked back down at the worn heart on the sand stone.
The tears rolled down her cheeks again, but this time she welcomed them. She needed this. Somehow letting the tears flow made the pain in her chest ease a little.
Softly she whispered into the silence, "I'm sorry, George." As she turned to slowly walk back across the sand the wind blew back her hair and she felt lighter somehow. Her lungs drew in a long, full breath and she felt like she hadn't felt so good in a long time. Somehow she felt she could hear him whispering back.
The glow in her chest came back. She looked up to the sky and the sun had come out again. She wiped away the tears on her cheeks, closed her eyes, and smiled into the sky. She couldn't help it. She was happy and it felt so good to be this happy again after so long.
"I love you, too."