The wind brushes my cheeks and whistles around my body. I spin with the breeze and notice my shadow, colored a sweet, rosy pink. “How odd,” I think, “A pink shadow.” There are all shades of shadows: dusty silver, deep charcoal, opaque grey- but not pink. Of all earth, from the Nile River basin to a crow’s prickly nest, this place, I’m sure, is the only where I’d experience such a shadow. Maybe it’s the Spanish moss, so dense it nearly swallows me; but it’s too lazy, and continues to swing with the rest of the island to a slow, whispered tune.
My strides are long as I stroll; my pink shadow lags behind, letting out a heavy sigh now and then in protest to the heat. The sun, cracked from its inky shell, now sits as a glowing yolk in the sky. People I don’t know from places I’ve never heard of brush the evening’s dust from their eyes; some walk too fast and trip on untied shoelaces.
A woman digs through her yellow straw purse sagging from her arm; after several minutes she pulls out a key and jiggles it into a slightly rusted door lock. “Rare Books,” reads the cardboard sign in the window.
“Rare as in no one wants them,” pipes up a giggling voice close to my ear. I snap my head around and pull a muscle, letting out a groan as I struggle to meet the stranger’s gaze. A goofy smile is plastered on his face and his dull green eyes are too big for his head. He begins rocking on his heels under my scrutinizing eyes. “I’m Bill, you may know me from the sidewalk.”
When I scrunch my eyebrows, he points a finger repeatedly downward, but does not speak. There on the sidewalk, someone, I assume Bill, traced his name into the once wet concrete. “That’s me, I’m Bill,” he whispers, staring at his work. In the grooves of his name shines magenta glitter, and other indistinguishable bits of trash. “Can I walk with you?”
It’s just me, Bill, and my pink shadow walking to the sea. My feet cross onto the wooden pier; it’s cradled me since I was three, keeping me high up and away from the waves. I ask Bill, “If I were to lift my arms and let the wind carry me like a bird, if I were to fly away from here right now, would you be surprised?” When he nods “yes,” a perfect lipstick print becomes visible on his neck-once a wine color, it’s since faded to pink.
I take off down the pier, past a man and his boy, past a grey old woman. My heart pounds and it’s almost too heavy. I keep running but turn my head; there is my pink shadow, trailing me. I meet the end and jump.
A crash, and everything is blue: celestial indigo, sparkling aquamarine, royal sapphire. I emerge from the waves and rub the salt water from my eyes. There’s Bill, cackling from the pier’s edge, no pink shadow in sight.