That Night in Coney Island

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 25, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 25, 2017



That night in Coney Island, you told me, “you’re going to lose everything.”


Darkness besieged me, as I let an abysmal feeling of obscurity flood through my veins.

It was calm.

You would’ve hated it.


 “I never wanted this!” I told you. “My life was calm before I met you. It was peaceful.”

 You cocked your head, a mischievous twinkle in your eyes. “Is that what you want? Calm? No, Jason, you want passion and adventure. Something destructive, something catastrophic.”

 You were infuriating. “You don’t know what I want, Delilah! You don’t know me!”

“I know that you’ve been waiting for this storm. You’ve spent your entire life in some pseudo-darkness that kept you at peace.” Despite how low your voice was, your eyes burned violently. “Everyone is always waiting for this, Jason. Something to flip your world upside down. Everything else was just the calm before the storm. This is the storm!” You had started to yell as if that would kickstart the natural disaster that was already in motion. Us.

“We are the storm!”

“Fine!” I shouted back at you. “You know what, fine! You’re right! I’m glad I met you, I’m happy that you showed up out of nowhere, and crashed right into all the plans I had.”

 “I’m not.” You stepped closer to me, challenging me. “I always hated the rain.”

 You may have hated the rain, but you loved the chaos.

“But you’re still here.”


There are still waters before a hurricane. There is silence before an earthquake.  

Just like in life, in death, there is always the calm before the storm.

There is always light before darkness.


You told me to enjoy it. “Enjoy it while you have it because someday... someday, it will all be gone.” You looked away from me and into the sunrise over the broken city. “You’ll wish you could remember moments like this.”

“When this is all over,” you told me, never daring to take your eyes away from the city that ruined us, “just tell me that we’ll still have this.”

You carelessly dropped yourself down, throwing your legs over the edge of the rooftop. With abandon, I did the same, taking in the way your skirt flowed in the light breeze of the hazy dawn. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” It was a captivating moment, the first of many...filled with hope and light.

You opened your lips, gasping as the sun poured out onto you. You watched as the light cascaded over the buildings, amazed by the simplicity of it. Fluttering your eyelids, you let the warm sunlight wash over you. “You really, don’t you?”

“What else can I do?”

You were so captivated by anything and everything, including me. You leaned over to my ear, as unexpected as can be, and whispered, “You can’t just watch things, Jason.” My name was like a ghost, wafting from your lips. “You need to feel them.”

And for a second, it was just you and me and everything.

 Delilah, I didn’t need to feel anything, when I could watch you feel everything. And that’s exactly what I did.

You’ll probably remember the euphoric feeling of that drunken, post-Saturday night haze that Brooklyn put us in. But what I remember is watching the sunrise in the reflection of your eyes, fluttering lashes and shadowy eyes framing something that I knew I could never allow myself to forget.


For one second, you were a constant, staring back at me in the never ending ocean of nothing.


Your smile faded as you looked beyond me. We were barely on a first name basis and we were already belting out our hopes and dreams.

“I just want to be remembered.” A soft layer of sunlight blanketed you as you laid in the grass, staring up at the sky.


And then you were ripped from my view, sending me plummeting through space, gulping for air, battling the hollow feeling that seemed to be closing in on me fast.

I let myself drift underwater with a vengeance. I was drowning. My lungs were collapsed, my mind was floating, I was swallowing water by the mouthful.


You pulled away from me, gasping for breath. We’d been drowning together. Somehow, we found a way back up to the surface. “Will you remember me?”


I always felt like I was drowning when I was with you. That summer that I met you, I was trying to keep my head above water. It was that long, lonely night in Coney Island that destroyed me.


That night in Coney Island, you told me, “you just hold onto all the wrong things. You try to remember things and people too much. One day, they’re not going to be there anymore.”
What you meant to say is that one day, you wouldn’t be there anymore.

Just like you always said, images fade. You forget people, and you lose memories.

Your face was evanescing into the darkness, you were dissipating from this blurry vision of everything that stood out in my life.

It became so real all of a sudden. I couldn’t let you slip away.

I struggled, I thrashed, I fought to try and jumpstart my brain...and maybe my heart. Because slowly, you were fading, you were fading from my vision, you were fading from my memory.

“No!” A garbled cry left my lips, ripping me into another memory I promised never to forget.


I wanted to remember every word you said to me, Delilah. I wanted to remember you. When you spoke, I listened intently, devouring every word. You hopped the turnstile at the top of the staircase. When I followed suit, I asked you, “why?”

Everything you did, you did for a reason. “I used to work late hours. I used to ride these trains all night. Once I lost that, I lost a part of myself.” Your hair dangled in the wind, destroying the skyline view of Brooklyn.

But you were so much more beautiful than the beat-down, gritty view of our newest conquest.

You deserved to be remembered as you were: a rogue gone missing, a traveling mystery, a vague trace of adventure that would be gone before the night was over, a beautiful catastrophe of sun-bleached hair, sandy fingernails and broken thoughts.

“Try not to lose yourself, Jason.” You shook your head, a silhouette in the ghost of the night. “I’ve lost so much of myself by trying to forget the bad moments, Jason.” It was brief, train headlights shimmering in your watery eyes. “Just try not to forget what makes, Jason.”

You were lost, you were adrift among some Autumn forever, waiting on October, never remembering anyone that might still think about you. Like me.

I vowed in that moment, Delilah, that I would never forget you. Or these fleeting moments when everything seemed okay. You were what made me who I wanted to be.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget you,” I told you truthfully, letting the wind take those words captive, holding onto them somewhere in this uncharted city, in this unknown universe.


Delilah, as you continued to drift in front of me, not only were you getting dimmer, but these romanticized experiences with you were beginning to fall apart. Everything that I knew about you was fighting to fall away.

I can’t even remember loving or hating. I can’t bring myself to care about the loss of feeling, but I can’t forget you. I promised to remember you, I promised I would never forget what we were.

So much of what we were was dictated by how you felt. So much of how we lived was dictated by how I felt about you.

But somehow, I can’t remember how you made me feel, I can’t quite remember the feel of anything. As I numbly succumb to the empty feeling inside my ribcage, I can still see everything. I spent so much of my life watching you. I could only see you, you, you, you.

You were blurry, you were reckless, you were destructive and you were everything.

You were a hurricane without a warning that hit the Northern East Coast. For your next adventure, Delilah, head out west. They would be prepared for you. I wasn’t.


I wasn’t prepared for whatever was waiting for us on the other side. Just like I wasn’t prepared for you. And yet, you turned out to be my best adventure.

“You’ll have to let go of all of this someday. You’ll have to let go of me, of this city...of yourself.”

I had just found the light in my life. I couldn’t let go of you yet.

You stepped onto the train, and I followed behind you. “You’ll let go of memories, but never let go of those feelings.”



Millions of pictures of you exploded into a thousand tiny stars, in this galaxy.


I was staring at the Polaroids that were spread across the wooden floor. From the back of our tiny Honda Civic, to Rockaway Beach, to the salt plains of Utah, to the bed in this very room, there were pictures of you smiling back at me.

“Jason, why do you bother?”

“They’re mementos,” I told you, tearing my eyes away to face you. Nothing could match to the real thing. I never could quite capture the adventure burning in your eyes.

You sighed, “mementos mean nothing, Jason.”

I could feel myself bite my lip, thinking, thinking, thinking. It was the most concrete thing I could have to keep you forever. “I just don’t think I could leave this behind.”

 Grabbing my hand softly, you took me away from the millions of memories discarded on our apartment floor.

You were always so unpredictable. In one painstaking moment, you were telling me to let go of the only concrete proof that you loved me. In another more impulsive moment, you were in my arms, spinning slowly to an 80’s ballad that floated through the thin walls of our apartment.

My eyes landed on your careless feet, dancing with the Christmas lights hung around our bedroom, sending my Polaroids scattering over the wooden floor.

You were beautiful when you were moving. That’s what you were, Delilah. You were a movement.

I know that we’ve all heard this story a million different times.

But somehow, we were different. Together, we rambled incoherent sentences and pieced together fragments of thoughts to find find anything. We were lost, we were so miserably lost.

You looked the most beautiful at four in the morning. It was that morning, as the sun enveloped you like you belonged, effectively shattering our night-long hiatus from real life...that you looked the most at peace. Even in the eye of the storm.

If only I could’ve told you that.

I would’ve told you that I did find light. I found light in the eye of our storm, in the heart of our darkness, in the roots of your happiness.

You were smiling at me. “Now, this. This feeling. You could have this forever.”


This was the calm. Ironically, you were my calming moments, visions of you washed in light and dreaming of sunshine. Somehow, I knew that I was trying to cling to the only light that could pull me from this chasm and bring me back to you. That was you. The good and bad.


While you were busy falling in love, I was busy memorizing each and every movement, the way the light slighted against your face with the sharpest movement of your bare feet. I was watching the way your lip cut off right at the corner, the most beautiful curve of a scar that you’d never known about until you met me. I was watching your hair fall around your face in the most dangerous way, a way that made me want to brand the image into my mind.

 You used to say, “Jason, I can feel you thinking.”

 I would tell you, “That doesn’t make sense.”

You would say, “it does to us.”

You could feel me thinking, but I was watching you think, I was burning those reckless, road-map eyes into my brain just in case you ever decided to leave me.

I guess I never thought about what could happen if I left you.


Just as quickly as these snapshots blurred by me did they disappear. Leaving me alone, alone with nothing...nothing but a blurry skyline that you would have loved, slowly, slowly being destroyed by the darkness that was eating me alive.


“You’re consumed by a darkness that will kill you, Jason.”

I shook my head. “I know.”


I can’t bother to try and remember a single glimpse of light from those years before I met you.


You were like a heat wave, a sun-drenched nightmare that somehow became

my favorite fantasy. “You know that superheroes always defeat the villains, right?”

 I chuckled at you, knowing very well where this was going, “the good always overcomes the evil, right?”

 “Sometimes, they’re too hard to tell apart,” you shrugged, continuing to walk along the edge of the sidewalk. “In the end, light always conquers darkness.”

 Delilah, you were hopeless.

You always told me that light conquers darkness.

If you could believe that, then I could believe it. If I could believe it, I could fight it.

And suddenly, I was whipped into the core of a never-ending storm, a nonexistent hurricane that could even rival you.

Your words were like shouts of rebellion and revolution from the rooftops. A million shards of memories came together in a blur; every memento of how you brought me away from the darkness.

“Life is about fighting.”

(Headlights from incoming cars fell on the softest tresses of your hair while I was winding down dark back roads, arguing with you about the most irrational things.)

“The sun goes away earlier nowadays.”

(Your eyes would quickly dart across the Atlantic, waiting for the clouds to part… you were always swiftly following the rays of sun that raked across the Hudson River.)

“Stop thinking too much.”

(Those echoes of a timid glow on your face from the gaslight flickering in my Honda Civic... reflecting off the rain that caved in my windshield in Wichita Falls the night we thought we would die.)

“Come smoke a cigarette and stop thinking for a second.”

(I watched the ember glow wildly in your eyes as you settled onto the hood of the car, stargazing in the Midwest. We burnt ashes in every state.)

“This city will never love you back.”

(It was the drabbles of red and pink and blue and yellow that painted your lips that made me love this city while you stared up into those neon signs of love and life.)

“You’re going to crash and burn.”

(Your knuckles turned white as you gripped the steering wheel, gazing at the rising flames of a forest fire devouring a mountain in Arizona and threatening to take us with it.)

“No one should fight about love.”

(I didn’t ever want to forget those moments when you were the happiest, when you were suddenly surrounded by millions of tiny Christmas lights, or when you stood underneath the dim light of a flickering streetlight on a blurry Brooklyn Saturday night.)

“You don’t even know what you’re looking for.”

(You, with all your tangled hair and thoughts were nothing but a careless silhouette painted on the final horizon after the two weeks we spent on the road, just trying to find the Pacific.)

“You don’t know who you want to be, Jason. You don’t even know who you are.”

(Dim, dirty lights bounced off the bottle of beer you held in your hands, as you

waited for me in the dark entryways of late-night dive bars across New Orleans.)

 “Will you remember me?”

(The fluorescent lights blinked, leaving us in the dark, empty subway car, as my thoughts derailed with the dangerously lethal movements of the G train. “I love you,” I told you, listening for your breath, for a catch or a gasp or a choke. And all too quickly, we were jerked to the side, lights flooding in on us like a tsunami, swimming in your eyelashes, floating down your knotted hair, drowning in those road-map eyes.)

 “None of us are okay.”

(I would catch glimpses of the tiniest shard of light on the tip of your nose from the construction lights outside my window. You told me they were night lights to roadblocks, fireflies to an over-constructed city that keeps building up to the top.)

“But you, Jason, you’re going to be okay.”

(Your face was like a captured Polaroid in the dreamy gaze of a stormy morning, brushing your cheeks with the cloudy hues as you kissed me goodbye before you left.)

“I hope you find sunshine, Jason.”

(I did, Delilah. I found sunshine in the glint of light against your engagement ring as you walked away from me.)

I wrestled with my lips, struggling to find the words. (“I hope you do, too.”)

It was freedom for you. It never meant anything to me. Until now.

I’ll never watch another sunset through your glassy eyes.

Lightning crashed along the subtle skyline that seemed to stay when the rest of the memories had faded.


“Jason.” You held an umbrella over us, leaving shadows dancing along your cheekbones. “What do you want to do with your life?”

“With my life?”

“Yeah,” you said quietly, looking up at me through those dark lashes, “you know… when you grow up?”

“Delilah, I think it’s a little too late for that.”

You scoffed, spinning in the rain to catch the lightning flash across the stormy sky. “It’s never too late to have dreams.”


It was. Now, it was gone. It was only darkness.

Some of us are best at doing nothing anyway.


You had finally found your sunset dreams when you asked me, “What do you think it will be like?”

I was watching you, as you stared out the dirty windshield to see the horizon swallow the sun over the freeway. “What?” Your face was a still-life portrait, a masterpiece of the colors that made up the sky.


You had found your dreams, your happiness, your sunset, Delilah. You had come to terms with the idea of death, the concept of the end of this story, of ourlives together.

But me? I still hadn’t even figured out what I was looking for.

With one last look at the sun settling around your split ends and stray aways, your knotted hair and sun-kissed skin, I told you the truth. “Darkness.”


A masculine voice spoke, telling me that I could never defeat it.

Deep inside of the nothingness that was enveloping me, I knew that I couldn’t. And yet, I was straining, fighting against it with everything you had ever taught me.

“ the end, light always conquers darkness…”

It was all too much too quickly, light blinding me as I got pulled over in Louisiana, windows in Brooklyn brownstones, for sale signs in Venice Beach, distant airport lights in the desert, trying to take me away, trying to remind me, trying to…

“...someday, it will all be’ll wish you could remember moments like this…”

It was getting harder to see the things that I promised I would never forget.

It was getting harder to remember who you were. You were a revolution of thoughtlessness, a generation of recklessness. It was the bare bones of exactly what you were, the skeleton of who you were.


“Delilah?” I tried to say out loud. It sounded like the first time I tasted it coming from my lips, foreign and yet so right. Somehow, I knew it was the right thing to say, the only thing that could stand a chance against this smoky eclipse that was inhaling my thoughts.

It was a strange word, syllables strung together that I couldn’t quite make sense of. I just knew that it was fearless. “Delilah?”

“ can’t just watch things, have to feel them…”

There was nothing but the sound of your voice.



Frantically, I scrambled in the dark ocean, knowing I needed to return to that voice, but not knowing why. A wave crashed over my head that knocked the breath out of my lungs, and replaced it with the same palpable blackness that was caving in on me. I didn’t fight for air like I did that night in Coney Island. “You need to stop thinking so much, Jason.”

It was that night in Coney Island. I let myself drown that night in Coney Island. Just like now, as I let my mind numbly settle, my body stilling silently in the wake of the echoes surrounding me.

A woman’s voice. It was a voice that struck some chord deep within the black mass that I’d diminished to, a voice that lingered in the air around me, surrounding me, suffocating me...drowning me.

I drowned that night in Coney Island.


“In the end, it isn’t about thinking about life or watching sunsets or even doing

everything you set out to do. It’s about feeling everything that you possibly can while you’re here.”


I couldn’t feel anything.


 “Do you think you’ll feel anything?”

 He spared a look at the girl beside him, watching her lip tremble. “When you die?”

 “After you die.”

 His voice was hollow but firm. “I...don’t think there is anything.”

 One side of her lips quirked up in a desperate attempt to brighten the atmosphere inside the car. “Not even your life flashing before your eyes?” Despite everything, he chuckled. “Not even a bright, white light?”

 “What? At the end of a tunnel?” He asked, slightly smirking at her before turning to the road again.

 Suddenly, her smile dropped. Her eyes sobered up, her face draped forward as she willed him to look directly into her eyes. “Do you think you’ll fight it?”

 He seemed to think for a second. “What would there be to fight for?”

 “Fight for or fight against?” They were picking each other’s brains easily inside of a two-door Honda Civic, as the world whirled past them on the freeway. “Would you fight for the life you didn’t get to live? The things you never got to do? What about all those thoughts that haven’t been spoken? All the things you never said?”

 “Are you asking if I’ll die with regret?” She laughed out loud, filling the car with a sound that made the man beside her smile deeply. He obviously loved her. One brow of his lifted, as he seemed to consider her tangent of the conversation.  “And what would there be to fight against?”

 “Well,” she smiled softly at him, “losing everything that you hold onto so tightly.” His hands tightened on the steering wheel, the blood leaving his face, as if the words just confirmed that she was leaving him. She seemed to try and grasp the air in the car that was suffocating them, faintly breathing out, “we’ve been fighting for so long.”

She flashed through the darkness; her hair blowing wildly through the air, her eyelashes sleek with new tears, the sheer material of her skirt blowing against a New York City backdrop.

Whoever she was, she was the only light in this life. Because in these darkest moments, the only things that kept returning were moments of her.

And even in the last tumbling adventure through death, she was something bright...and beautiful, weaving her way into shenanigans and misadventures.

...a sunrise...the skyline of some unknown city...from the reflection of her eyes...

“...just tell me that we’ll still have this...when this is all gone…”

(I should’ve known that we wouldn’t.)



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