Sandra idly fingered the whistle on a string around her neck. She drew in a big breath, then let out a long slow sigh as she scanned the swim area one last time. Deserted. She grabbed her beach bag and climbed down from the elevated lifeguard’s chair for the last time. After today, she would be “Sandy Lifeguard” no more. She ducked into an empty swim shack and peeled off the tacky suit. Won’t be needing this anymore, she thought, as she left it crumpled on the wooden floor.

As a kid, she loved the water, earning ribbons at swim team competitions. That’s where she met her best friend Esther. The two of them were the strongest swimmers on the team. All these years later they were still best friends. Now that she had her diploma, Esther was going to get her a job at her family’s car lot. She could get a real paycheck and quit wasting her summers babysitting on the beach.

Feeling very adult, she checked the mailbox as she passed by. Inside, she found a plain white envelope with just one word on it: Sandra. How fun! It was like an out of season valentine. She knew it was from her boyfriend as soon as she saw the handwriting. Suddenly feeling more like a giddy schoolgirl and less like an adult, she skipped into the house, flopped on her bed, and ripped it open.

“Please understand. Esther and I are in love. We both care about you and never wanted to hurt you. We are on our way to Las Vegas to get married. I’ll always remember you.” Tears fell as she left the letter on the bed and made her way back to the beach. She was going to need that swimsuit again after all.

Author’s Note:

This was written for a flash fiction contest, using a prompt. I branched out a little from my usual style, adding romance and an unhappy ending. It ended up at exactly three hundred words and I think it tells a pretty complete story for such a small piece.