Lydia was sitting a little further away from a group of young people close to her age. Her legs were buried in the wet sand and her arms were wrapped around her bent knees. The moonlight made the dark sea take on a silver hue. She felt anticipation, fear, sorrow and joy at the same time. That night was the last night she would spend with her childhood friends before parting ways. It was a milestone in her life.
She felt someone approaching her and turned towards him. He was a handsome, in her opinion, young man with split eyes, full lips, a straight nose and an elongated slender face. He was a little taller than one and eighty-five meters. His straight black hair, which wanted a haircut, fell tangled in front of his forehead. He was five years older than her but he looked more like sixteen, at most eighteen. He sat down next to her and his foot rested loosely on hers. He did not have to look at the small beauty spot on his left cheekbone to see which of the two twins he was. After so many years, a whole life, who knew them could distinguish them even when they choose to dress in the same clothes as on that were day they wore beige shorts and a striped white red short-sleeved blouse.
"Why don't you come with us?" He asked her in English, although he also spoke Greek fluently.
She continued to look at the moon reflected in the calm waters.
"Why do you want to go to China to live?" She asked him with a complaint instead of answering his question. He saw her playing with the ring she was wearing. A silver ring with carved ancient Greek geometric shapes on it. A gift from her parents since she went to high school.
The twins, like her best friend, were from Korea. Their mother, Lee Hanna, was born and raised in England, half English, half Korean. The twins were born and raised in Seoul until they were five before their parents decided to move permanently to England. On the contrary, their sister was born and raised entirely in England.
"Christian, I'm scared." He confessed to him using his English name instead of the Korean.
He pulled her into his arms and rested his chin on top of her head.
"I feel that everything is changing and nothing will be the same as before. You are leaving, Crystal will study in England but in another city. Danae is already studying in another city and I will go to another one. It will not be like we used to be "Just you in England and we in Greece. We will be scattered in four different parts of the world!"
"Think that we are all chasing our dreams. And we are doing well so far. Besides, we will continue to have each other. We will just talk via skype. That will not change wherever we are on the planet."
He was right but she could not stop worrying that sooner or later the distance would separate them. Eyes that are not seen are quickly forgotten, don't they say? Nor could she confess to him that she was afraid that she wouldn't succeed as the twins had done, as her sister had done so far, as she was sure Crystal would.
They heard Danae calling at them and Christian helped her up. They approached the fire around which they had encamped and found Aaron cooking skewers with meat and vegetables. Next to him, Crystal had set up a small table and opened some food containers prepared by Natalia, the girls' mother. Foreign music was heard from a radio that they had left on the towel they had spread on the sand. Danae, dancing to the music, gave the washed tomatoes to Lydia with a knife and she began to cut the cucumber. The only one missing from the group was Xiao Yu, Aaron's girlfriend, who had already returned to China after finishing her studies, and was one of the main reasons for the twins' decision to move there as well. Christian took two beers from the fridge and gave one to his brother. She looked at them as they stood side by side talking. They looked like two drops of water. They were so same and yet so different. Aaron was the most serious though he always followed his siblings in the funny videos they made. He wondered if now that they did not have their little sister, who was also the driving force, would they continue to shoot childish scenes to send them? Most likely the answer was no. After all, they were grown ups for something like that. This big change in their lives saddened her and made her feel melancholy.
"The food is ready!" Aaron announced, transferring the plate to the mat they had prepared to sit on.
Christian handed them the meat and they began to eat with appetite, talking for hours about everything under the sun. They unconsciously used all three languages when talking to each other enjoying this now effortless coexistence of three different types of culture having grown up together since they were babies. Crystal handed out cans of beer and together with the toast for a happy future, they promised that in four years, wherever they were, they would make sure that everyone would meet again in this place.
"Time for a night bath!" Crystal exclaimed, finishing her meal and running into the sea as she was, she dived happily with her clothes on.
"But..." Danae went to prevent her but did not catch up. Aaron grabbed her and carried her to her feet. And soon they heard her scream when she landed in the water. Lydia looked at them and laughed.
"We just ate. Grandma would have been freaking out!" She murmured but soon she too was found thrown like a sack on Christian's shoulders who also entered the sea with her. He dived into the water and her clothes stuck like a second skin on her. She removed her long brown hair in front of her face and climbed on his back trying stubbornly to plunge him into the sea. Undaunted, he continued on his way to where the others were standing. The only light they had was that of the moon but they knew the sea as every summer for the last five years they camped in this place. Her sister argued with her and Lydia gave up. She stepped on the sand and before she could take a step she felt something move under her feet. With a shriek she jumped and hooked onto Christian again, wrapping her legs around his waist.
Her friends laughed at her reaction and Christian threw her into the sea with one gesture. That night they could get rid of the scourges and worries about the future. Five childhood friends were currently living for the moment.
When they came out of the sea the fire was about to go out. Aaron ran to drop some wood to rekindle it. Their clothes were sticking from the water.
"I think we need to change." Danae advised them by taking off her blouse and staying in her swimsuit.
Lydia took out her ring and her leather bracelets and left them on the table to be inserted into the tent she was sharing with her sister and Crystal.
"Come on, let's change too." Aaron told his brother and entered their tent. Christian followed him a little while later.
Memories, dreams, fears were shared around the fire that night. As they always did and as they hoped they would continue to do in the future. Their relationship was so strong that no distance could affect it.
When Lydia woke up the next morning, her sister and Crystal were still asleep. She stood up and opened the stage enjoying the view of the sea in front of her. She wore a gray long-sleeved blouse over her swimsuit with the logo of a well-known rock band printed on it and left the tent. She stretched lazily enjoying the colors that prevailed in the sky. It was almost dawn and the sea had a wonderful deep blue color with the sky still scattered red touches. She walked with her feet dipping into the cool sand until she reached the point where the water burst into small waves. She was walking immersed in her thoughts along the shore when she realized that someone was swimming next to her. She looked at him. His movements were harmonious and precise. She wondered which of the twins he was and in response to her question he stopped, removed his wet hair in front of his eyes and reciprocated her gaze. He greeted her and started approaching her, revealing his slender and fit body.
"Good morning Aaron." She greeted him and he greeted her in return.
"You woke up early." He commented as they started walking with the light wave cooling their feet.
"I can not sleep more when I am away from home. You know it! "She explained and he shook his head in understanding as he dealt with the same issue.
He showed her hand which was missing the ring she was wearing the day before.
"Didn't you find it in the end?" He asked her and she nodded. She had left it on the table after their evening bath, she remembered that, but when she returned it was nowhere to be found. She had only found her bracelets.
"He would probably have fallen into the sand by mistake." She commented and shrugged, trying to look indifferent even though she was upset. It was the only ring he wore.
They returned to the spot where they had camped and found Crystal leaving their tent at that moment.
"Good morning!" She told them and approached them. She was cheerful. "I suggest we have breakfast today on the way back!" She added and they heard Christian agree with her as he was added to their small group.
He ran his fingers through his sleepy hair and wore only a burgundy Bermuda swimsuit. He greeted them and ran past them for a swim in the sea. Aaron looked at him, shook his head and entered the tent to get dressed.
"I am gonna miss them!" Crystal commented with a sigh as she looked at her older brother who was swimming at the time.
She did not like it when she did not have them near her. But she knew that Aaron had found the partner he was looking for in Xiao Yu, and she wanted to return to her hometown, Shanghai. And as a bonus he had found a job related to games that he loved so much. Christian was following just for the experience.
A little while later, having packed and loaded their things, they got into the car. Lydia stopped for a moment before boarding and looked at the beach they were leaving behind. Some families had already come and set up their umbrellas with their children happily scattered to play with the sand and cool water. Their own vacation was over. And the summer itself soon. A new chapter in her life was beginning. She was no longer a high school student. A new chapter was opening before her. As they made their way back home she heard her friends chatting. Her sister was singing the songs that were heard on the radio even though she didn't know the lyrics. Christian, who was sitting in the passenger seat, was rhythmically tapping his hand on his leg and Aaron was driving and singing the choruses in between the conversations they were exchanging. She had chosen to remain silent enjoying this beautiful commotion. She saw Christian looking at her in the mirror and their eyes met. His face tightened for a moment and he finally turned his head to the opposite side. Crystal leaned forward and whispered something to him in Chinese that their Greek friends did not know and he answered her a little sharper than usual. She frowned and crossed her arms in front of her chest and sat back in her seat. Aaron said something to her but he said it so fast that Lydia didn't manage to catch a word beyond "meimei", meaning little sister, not that if they spoke slower she would understand something more.
"Are you done with your secrets?" Danae asked them. She could imagine the content of their conversation and quietly continue looking out of the window.
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