Hi! Here's a story I wrote back when I was eighteen or so; you could call it "A Portrait of the Author as a Young Man," or something like that. It's a little unpolished, but only because I'm nostalgic and wanted it preserved here in its basic original form.

Oh, and this story is not set in modern times; the timeframe of this story is about 1967 or 1968. Just so y'all don't get confused.

Reviews are always appreciated and returned!

Brad sat on his front porch, staring as the sun went down over the ocean. The sky turned purple and red, casting a beautiful glow upon the water. The waves crashed against the shore and pulled out again, leaving a smooth layer of mud which the children of the few remaining tourists on the beach ran along, leaving footprints. Brad strummed a few strings on his guitar and took a drink from the wine glass that sat next to him. The smell of shrimp and lobster cooking wafted down the road from the restaurant, coming down with music from the entertainer, mixing with the Beatles, playing softly on Brad's transistor radio.

As things grew quieter on the beach as the tourists moved into their bungalows to change for dinner, Brad turned around and looked into the window of his home. It was dark and quiet inside. Brad stared quietly at his single bed with the sheets lying in a tangled heap on it, his dresser with a small color TV sitting on it, the bamboo easy chair sitting in the corner, his small kitchen and the small curtain that led to his small bathroom.

Brad got up slowly, went inside and got a box of matches. He walked back outside and lit the two brass lanterns that hung on both sides of the door. He walked off his front porch and started down the dirt road.

As he walked, he looked around at the palm trees, the tropical flowers, the kids that also lived on the island playing in their yards and out on the beach. They waved as he walked by, and he waved back.

As Brad walked, he couldn't help but think how he could have been enjoying this with somebody else, how some of those kids could have been his, if not for one mistake he had made. It had happened about two years ago, when he and Tammy were twenty. They had just started to seriously entertain the idea of marrying in a few months, when they would both have turned twenty-one. They had just started to make plans, they had met each others' parents, their parents had approved, and they were just about to the point where they were going to get everything finally straightened out and ready when he and Tammy had a fight, a big one. It was so long ago that Brad didn't even remember what it was about, but that didn't really matter. What did matter was that it had gotten Tammy so angry that she broke off the engagement and that she told Brad that she didn't want to see him ever again. What Brad did remember about the fight was that it had been all his fault, that it had been something that he had said. People, Brad's best friends, had tried to tell him that it hadn't been his fault, but Brad knew the truth.

Brad wasn't able to handle Santa Monica, heck, any of Los Angeles, after that. Every building, every street corner, everything held some kind of memory for him, some thought of happier times, of a time when life had seemed so bright and happy. It was at this time that Brad ran away from the City of Angels, ran away to this small island in the south Pacific, buying an old boat and taking tourists out fishing for twenty bucks, vowing to live out his life and die on this little island, where everything didn't remind him of the way things used to be. It didn't work. Everything, every couple, every child, every song, every sound, every night did something to remind Brad of Tammy, her hair, her smile, her eyes, her laugh, her voice.

Brad arrived at the dock and came to his boat, an old, barnacle-beaten barge that looked like the boat from the movie The African Queen. Brad got in the boat, started it up, and went out to sea, the only place where he felt even the smallest trace of solace.

Once Brad got out to a spot where it was quiet, dropped anchor, turned on the small radio that he kept on the boat, laid down on the deck and closed his eyes, only to open them as the song "Traces of Love" by Classics IV came over the radio. As the song about lost love filled the radio, sending Brad into deeper memories, he realized that the ocean wasn't going to provide him with any solace tonight, he was too lost in his memories. He pulled up the anchor, turned the boat around, and headed back.

It was quiet when he arrived at the island. The stars shimmered lightly in the sky, the full moon sending shadows across the dirt road as he walked back down it toward his home.

When he got back to his home, he extinguished the two lanterns, walked inside his house and plopped down on his bed. He listened to the waves crash outside as he thought, thought about Tammy, how happy he had been, how, if he could go back, how he would apologize to Tammy, apologize for everything he had said, tell her what an idiot he had been, tell her that he would do anything for her, tell her how he couldn't go on without her, but he knew that all that wasn't possible now.

Brad lay down on his bed, letting his memories carry him into sleep.