On the day I was born in San Lalo, our peninsula on the Pacific became an island. A thin
strip of forest sheltered our casa on the eastern side from the strong winds in the west and bore
fruit all year long, but the ocean hugged us so tight we separated from the mainland.
Daily, my cousin Kika and I would play near the sea. We were more like sisters or friends
than cousins. She called me Luna, even though my name was Luana. Abuela said my name
meant happiness, and they named me after a traveler from another distant island.
I was six when I noticed water responded to my feelings. Bathwater warmed with my
anger; cooled with my tears. By ten, the sea granted me things. That summer Kika found a
conch, and a grander shell appeared for me. Abuela called me spirited, feisty, and
jealous—always competing with Kika, instead of appreciating what I already had.
At thirteen, I wished for a friend. That’s the day I met Diego. I remember the taste of
salty air; the sea spray on my cheeks. He swam ashore, disoriented, with no memory of where he
originated. Our friendship swelled in those hours on the beach and continued to billow over the
One day, Diego confided in me he had a crush on Kika. My childish heart felt devastated,
betrayed. Working alongside her at our family tienda, he said his feelings came out of nowhere.
Later, when I caught them kissing behind our casa, I pushed him toward the beach. The breakers
smashed the shoreline as I shouted at him. He said he considered me a friend, his voice soft and
genuine. Unable to respond, I watched the sea pull Diego into its embrace.
The next day he washed ashore, disoriented, with no memory of where he originated. The
sea was giving me another chance! We spent countless hours outside of work hiking the trails,
exploring the trees, seeking magic in the mundane. Even after spending all that time together, he
revealed his adoration for my cousin. I let the surf sweep him away again and again, yet all his
reappearances led him back to Kika. My soul shattered repeatedly, sobbing harder than the rain
On the last occasion, before permitting the sea to engulf him, I asked him what Kika had
that I didn’t.
“With Kika,” he answered, “my heart crashes against my chest, and I am beside myself.
Whereas with you, I get to BE myself. Romantic love can come and go like the tides. You, my
friend, are the moon.”
His words stayed with me long after the sea swallowed him. Upon arriving at our casa it
hit me. I didn’t need Diego as my friend. I needed to be a better one to Kika. Romantic love can
come and go, but family is family. And if they are also your friend, even better.
The next morning, I walked Kika to the shore. And when Diego showed up, I introduced
them and walked away.
Kim kjagain Moes of Nanaimo, BC, lives and dreams outside the lines. She likes dandelions, exploring fresh places, and laughing at herself. Her work has appeared in print and online journals including Fairfield Scribes and Centifictionist. On writing, she says, “Write the life we live, explore the lessons not yet learned, and then, eat catharsis for dinner.”