The Secret

The sun’s rays were warm and welcoming on Anna’s bronzed back. She lifted her head lazily and glanced at the time on her watch. She’d been lying there for almost two hours, and she knew she’d have to get back to work soon. In many ways it was wonderful to be a freelance writer, and yet at other times it demanded more discipline than Anna could summon.

From where she lay, she could see the long coastline of white gold sand and hear the gentle breaking of waves on the shore. The row of cliffs, jagged on top, but smoothed at the bottom by the constant pounding of waves, shrank into the far distance. A fishing boat glided slowly into the bay sending a pungent smell of fresh fish wafting through the air.

She sighed and her face crinkled into a smile as she remembered her mother’s insistence that she come to the beach house for a few days. As always, her mother had been right.

Originally built in the 1950s as a fisherman’s cottage, the beach house had been restored in 1990 and again in 2019, creating a delightful get-away. The dark wooden beams, the storage basement below, and the giant fireplace in the living-room, were the only original parts remaining. Everything else had been stripped away. The original look had been retained as far as possible, with low hanging eaves, cream paneling throughout, and bright yellow-painted stone walls on the outside. Anna often imagined a fisherman’s wife sitting on the front porch, fixing nets and waiting for her husband to return safely from an intolerant and remorseless sea.

Squinting her eyes to a slit, she could just barely see the outline of Conrad swimming through the waves. How tall and handsome he was. With his bright blue eyes, broad cheeky smile, and thick blonde hair, he reminded her of Jonathan. They were so alike that sometimes it pained her to look at him. She watched as he swam with strong confidant strokes in to the shore, threw a sandy towel over his broad shoulders, and ran toward her.

“I’m starving,” he said, as he flew past her into the kitchen, rubbing his head vigorously with the towel. She laughed as she watched him reach into the fridge, take out half a chicken, and devour it in record time. He reminded her of a Viking on a raid.

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