Sterling sighed with her hands in her lap as she kept her eyes in front of her. The sunset over the lake peaked through the knotty pines that dotted the opposite shoreline, and she kicked her dangling legs off of the end of the dock as she took it all in.
Moving back home after college was the obvious choice. After a full four years of being three hours away from Blair in Texas, Sterling had been very ready to head back to Atlanta from Texas Christian University. She and Blair used to wreak absolute havoc on Austin whenever Sterling came to visit, but their days of frying in the Texan sun and getting the side-eye for saying ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ left them oddly nostalgic for that sweet Georgia humidity and southern charm. When Blair had landed her dream job with the Atlanta Police Department right out of school, the choice became even more obvious.
Through her volunteer work and involvement in community action programs in college, Sterling was fortunate enough to land a much-coveted job running afterschool programs for kids in the city as a part of the parks department. It had been a blessing to have that position and be able to impact the lives of young folks who had so much less than she did growing up.
College graduation was four years ago, and she’d realized that maybe those kids needed more than what her bachelor’s in social work could offer them. As much as she loved her work, she was starting to feel like she’d do better to have an impact beyond the eight doe-eyed kids she scooped up in the transport van every day.
Bounty hunting on the weekends only served to make her feel more stuck somehow, like if she were still doing the things she did in high school, she couldn’t be growing much at all, even if she did have her license to do it legally. She’d have to find a new therapist once she moved, because clearly this brain-stew was not a good look for her.
“What’s eatin’ you blondie?” Bowser’s gravelly voice asked as he grunted his way into sitting on the dock next to her.
“She’s sad about moving next week for grad school,” Blair chimed in from her other side, choosing to lay on the dock and look at the sky rather than sit like the others.
“Am not!” Sterling was affronted.
“You’re not? Well, shit. ‘Cause I am,” Blair admitted. The gentle lapping of the lake water against the pilings seemed to agree with her.
“Okay fine,” Sterling sighed, “I’m having… mildly melancholy vibes about it.” She leaned back on her hands at the admission.
“Athens ain’t far,” Bowser offered, “You could come back on weekends to work if you want.”
“Aww, thanks Bowsie,” Sterling reached up to squeeze his shoulder, “And thanks for dinner too, that was really sweet of you.” If she didn’t know any better, she’d say that Bowser looked the tiniest bit emotional in that moment.
Blair burped loudly to her left, “Oh yeah, thanks Bowser!”
He waved it off, “Company could be better, but the view is aight.”
“You should take a picture for the ‘gram,” Sterling was already pulling her phone out and smiling into the selfie, as Bowser looked grumpy, and Blair posed upside down, the fading sunlight tinting them all with a gentle pink color.
“You know my momma hates sunsets!”