Shelly and Fritz, sitting on chairs, watched the sun set through the painted clouds on the deserted white beach In St. Petersburg. This was the fifth year Fritz flew from San Francisco to share with Shelly the memories of her brother Brian on the anniversary of the boat crash. The three of them bonded twenty years prior, vowing to stay together always.
“I still remember when I met Brian.” Fritz raised his voice against the squawks of the hovering seagulls above the still dark blue water of the Gulf of Mexico. “He picked me up in Berkeley at the White Stallion. Totally blitzed he invited me to his apartment. His place was a mess. I still don’t know how he remembered me and what we did in bed.”
Shelly lifted her sunglasses to glance at him. “But then you two moved into that flat on Pine Street in The City. Why didn’t you and Brian have sex anymore?”
“That first night was enough for both of us.” That’s when I met you. You boys corrupted me. I was a nice girl before.”
“Yeah, right. We did start you barhopping; slumming the leather bars South of Market. And you both forced me to drive all the time.”
“Then you both flew here for Mom’s sixty-fifth birthday. We all got sloshed in Kenwood. We took her to St. Pete’s Pride parade.”
“Your mother knew how to keep up with us with the cocktails.”
“How do you think Brian learned to party?” Shelly leaned back in her chair.
“Those were the fun times. We were together always. Here and San Francisco.” Tears formed a gloss in Fritz’s eyes. He focused on the sun setting further into the dark horizon.
“I never knew why Brian was called Scarlett.”
“Scarlett O’Hara. He wanted this one guy Vic Ambrosia who had a lover. He tried to break them up. You know how the story goes. He never gave up on him until he moved back to here.”
“Yeah, we were devastated when Mom became sick then died. But he found his niche in Kenwood, having fun like he used to but without you.”
“That’s my Scarlett.”
“You’re right. He started all over again. But when you came to visit, it was the three of us always again.”
“Are you crying Shelly? Don’t do that or we’ll both be a mess. We should remember Brian like he wished.”
Fritz wiped the tears from Shelly’s cheeks. She covered her eyes with the sunglasses.
“Where’s that bottle of champagne?” Shelly yelped.
“Yes. It’s time to party with Brian. “I’ll uncork the bottle. Grab the three glasses.”
Fritz poured the ceremonial bubbly into the flutes. Fritz, holding two filled glasses, handed the third to her. They slowly walked into the slight creating waves. Fritz extended one flute to Shelly. Together they screamed “The three of us together.” They poured the champagne into the low tide of the Gulf of Mexico. Then they toasted each other, chugging the entirety of their bubbly in single swallows. They watched the sun drop behind the distant waters.