Abby hummed her favorite Adel song and tried to sing the words: “We could have had it all…” Her voice cracked at the first high C note as she swung her tennis racket with gusto.
The tennis ball sailed over the net, over the fence, into a tall Maple.
Cara groaned. “You can get that one. What’s up with you? That’s your fifth time hitting over the fence.”
“Sorry. I was thinking of him again. Remind me why he left me…‘cause nothing makes sense anymore.”
Cara grabbed her water bottle and met Abby at the net. “That was two months ago. You’ve got to get over Nick. He didn’t want to settle down…you knew he was that type when you started dating him. How long ago?”
“Eight years...well, seven and a half if you take away that six month pause.”
Cara shook her head. “That’s too long to wait for a ring. You gave up a lot for that relationship. What happened to your dream of traveling the world as a photographer? After college, you were going to ride a kayak to some remote fishing village and snap photos of the families for National Geographic. Since Nick, I don’t think I’ve seen anything farther than the end of your street.”
“I did go to Cape Cod once.”
“That’s four hours away, hardly traveling the world. Listen, as your BFF since kindergarten, I’m advising you…expand your horizons, girl. See the world and forget about Nick. You’re too good for him.”
“You sound like my mom.”
“A wise woman.” Cara tossed the ball to Abby. “I’ll treat you to a frozen yogurt before you go pack.”
That night, as Abby let loose on a canvas, swirling turquoise, Viridian, and Cobalt blue waves against a cerulean sky. She transferred her heart to the ocean as it crashed against the pink speckled sand. She could feel the spray of the mist cooling her neck as she splattered zinc white across the shore. “Expand your horizons, girl.” The words played in her head. She sank her fingers into Cadmium Yellow Light and Chrome Orange and twirled her pointer finger to form a hot spiraling sun.
She took a picture of herself in front of the painting and sent an Instagram to Cara. “I’m going.”
The flight Abby booked to the Philippines was going to take all day; she was glad to have a window seat. She stumbled through the aisle with her heavy carryon, counting rows: 15, 16, 17…row 18 sat a guy in a Miami Heat hat, reading a book. “Excuse me, I think you might be in my seat. I was supposed to have a window seat.”
He looked up, a Brad Pitt look-alike, and showed Abby his ticket. “I don’t think so. See.”
“Oh, great,” she mumbled. “Over fifteen hours, over the ocean, and all I get to see is this seatback.”
“Since they made a mistake, how ‘bout a compromise?” I’ll sit here the first hour, then you, then me, then you, then me…”
“I get it.” Abby laughed, noticing his cute dimpled smile. “Sounds fair. Thanks.” He smelled like cinnamon.
“Would you like one?” He offered her a Dunkin Donut Munchkin. “So where are you going?”
“Thanks. Manila. I’ve always wanted to photograph the Philippines.”
“I’m headed to a small village outside Manila with Samaritan’s Purse. We help rebuild villages.”
Suddenly, snapping photos seemed inconsequential.
After chatting for an hour about his life as a missionary, her job as a designer, their faith, and even tennis, they switched seats. “Wow. It’s beautiful.” The swirls of Viridian and Cobalt blue, just like her painting, but peaceful.
“I don’t know your plans, but we could use someone to document the work we do. You could take pictures of the homes as their built, and the children’s smiles.”
Abby stared at the ocean, the horizon from another angle, God’s angle, and knew her answer. Cara was right; Abby would expand her horizon. Vertically.
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