The Day Everything Changed.
Most of Julianna's days were filled with board meetings, office lighting, and emails. Today she snuck out early and headed to her parents' house on the coast. As she got closer, the air became thicker and smelled of the sea. How she missed that smell and her childhood home, but she never thought she would be going back under these circumstances. The sun sat low in the sky, and an orange hue swept across the garden. A man stood in the front yard, taking pictures of the home. Julianna jumped out of the car, slammed the door, and yelled: "What are you doing?" "Hi! I'm Roman," he replied. Reluctantly Juliana introduced herself to the tall stranger walking around her parents' home. "Why are you taking pictures of my house?" She asked in a stern voice." "I'm the real estate agent." "your parents hired me to put the house on the market." He said. "I came home to stop this nonsense, so your services are no longer needed," Juliana explained.
Frustrated by the idea of this man thinking he could make her parents sell their home, Juliana rushes into the house, yelling for her parents to come downstairs. Frantically they ran downstairs to the sound of her harrowing voice. To their surprise, Julianna was standing at the bottom of the stairs, arms crossed, hair in a tight bun with her bag sitting next to her firmly planted feet. "What's wrong, Julianna?" her mother asked. "You hired a real estate agent; how could you do this to me!" Julianna exclaimed. "Julianna, please relax, you know your father is ill, and we can no longer take care of the house by ourselves." You could hear Julianna's suitcase rolling across the hardwood floors as she walked around the house, peeking out every window where she saw Roman taking a picture. She hid behind curtains, crouched on the floor, and peeked through blinds. Even with all her efforts, Roman saw her in the window every time, and each time they made eye contact, he smiled and waved. With every smile, Juliana's palms began to sweat, her feet slammed to the ground, and her heartbeat became faster.
"What is it with this guy! Walking around, smiling like nothing's wrong." "Juliana, he's helping us, you'll see that he is a nice guy." Her hands began to tremble as she peeked through the shades. It looked like he was about to walk in the house. With a quick step, she closed the blinds and sat on the living room couch. She kicked her shoes off and rested her feet on the ottoman with her arms sprawled across the back of the couch. Roman sat in the chair across from her and placed his camera on the end table. "Did you like the pictures I was taking?" "How could I like something I didn't see?" she asked.
The air in the room became cooler as the afternoon sun began to set. Julianna sat and stared out the window, remembering the days she spent here as a child and how her life had changed since then. As a child, she spent many days lying on the beach, writing stories, and drinking lemonade. She never imagined that she would live in the city or work at a corporate office. After attending college in Boston, she returned home only for short visits and no longer sat on the beach to write or sip lemonade.
"Julianna, are you ok?" her mom asked. "Yeah mom, I'm fine, why do you ask?" "We were all talking to you, but you didn't answer us." "I'm sorry I was just thinking about this house, the beach, and all the great times I had here as a kid," she explained. "Roman, you should take Julianna down to the beach." "I'd love to." Roman stood up from the chair and put his hand out to Julianna's and said, "shall we?" Julianna pushed his hand away, stood up, grabbed a sweater, and headed for the door. Her parents waved their hands franticly, gesturing Roman to go after her. With camera in hand, he grabbed his backpack and stayed a few paces behind her. Capturing a picture of her hair blowing in the wind as her head turn around to look for him.
Once at the beach, she looked around, unsure why she was there or what to do now. It had been so long since she stepped foot on a beach that she did not even remember what sand felt like. For a few minutes, Roman stayed behind her, waiting for the right moment to approach. When he saw Julianna take off her shoes and put her feet in the sand, he knew she was comfortable, and the time to come her was now. He put his camera around his neck and wiped the front of his clothes, and ran his fingers through his wind-swept hair. He stood silent next to her for a mere second before she jumped and screamed. "How could you scare me like that!" "I'm so sorry, you looked so peaceful, I didn't want to disturb you." Julianna moved over and crossed her arms. "Come on, come sit and talk with me, you'll see I'm not a bad guy." "Absolutely not!" she screamed. Roman took off his backpack and laid a blanket down in front of her. he used his shoes to hold the blanket on opposite corners. Sitting on one side of the blanket with his legs crossed and his hands down by his side, he gazed at the horizon. With her arms crossed, she wondered why he joined her? They clearly live two different lifestyles. He spends his time looking at waves and taking pictures while she spends her time in board rooms. To her surprise, a few moments later, he turned around and patted the blanket, gesturing her to sit down. He spoke not a word when he did this, just gently patted the blanket, and smiled.
Julianna sat with her toes in the sand and arms around her legs at the back corner of the blanket. The sound of the waves crashing on the shore reminded her of the many days she spent writing on this very beach as a child. Roman laid down on the blanket with his arms behind his head and let the sound of the waves take over his mind. An hour passed by, and Julianna became restless. "How can you just sit there and do nothing all day?" she asked Roman. "How can you sit in an office all day?" He replied with a somber tone. Julianna jumped up, put on her shoes, and said, "You know what, coming here with you was a mistake. I'm leaving." "please wait, take a minute, lay on the blanket, close your eyes, and relax," Roman said as he moved over and dusted the sand from the blanket. She hesitantly crossed her legs, put her hands behind her head, and laid next to him without saying a word for the rest of the day. She listened to the waves and thought of all the time she missed with her father while working in the city. Her days in the city were long and stressful, they consisted solely of work. She imagined being able to do this every day and what her life would be like if she lived here permanently. She could care for her father, help pay the bills and start a new career. It was in that moment of an epiphany she realized she was not angry at her parents or Roman, she was angry with herself. She let her career take over her life, and she regretted not helping her parents save their home sooner.
The afternoon passed by while she and Roman laid quietly on the beach. The sky filled with stars as the sunset, and she suggested they head back to the house. When they returned, her parents were sitting on the porch swing holding hands and laughing. Julianna thanked Roman for escorting her to the beach and kindly asked him to give her some time alone with her parents. She squeezed in on the swing in between them, put her arms around them, and said. "I've decided to move back home and pursue my dreams of becoming a writer." "What does this mean, Julianna?" her mother said. "It means you don't have to sell your home! I will live here and begin enjoying my life again."
Julianna and her parents reminisced and laughed on the porch swing most of the night. The air grew cooler, and her parents went off to bed as she wrapped up in a blanket. She sat there until morning, enjoying the serenity that is her parents' home.
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