You gasp a little and squeeze my forearm, as I pull off the main highway and onto a dirt road that has yet to fully reveal itself. Trees envelope us, as branches rub against the windows like fingers trying to stop us from discovering a secret.
Then you see it.
You burst from the car when we’ve almost come to a stop. I gather your bag, and your toes are already feeling the perfectly cold water rushing over them, and then shyly retreating. You walk out a little further, splash kicking out in front of you.
I follow you out and hug you from behind, not wanting to interrupt, but unable to bear not being part of it. You lean your cheek against mine, and look out at something I can’t see and won’t ask about. A solitary lighthouse watches us with envy as I kiss your neck and then let you be.
I spread out our blanket and get comfortable. I pull out a book from the top half of any reputable best hundred novels ever list. I get through almost an entire paragraph.
You walk out deeper, cupping water in your hands and spreading it on your shoulders and down your arms.
You dive underwater. It’s only been seconds, but I already feel a little nervous. You break the surface and we both breathe again.
Rocks are skipped.
Starfish are returned home.
Seagulls keep a respectful distance.
I try to will these memories into my permanent collection. I want more than just vignettes and the hangover of feelings.
You eventually join me.
I squint at backlit wonder.
Long hair getting to fall on shoulders makes me a little jealous. I judge the passage of time by the waves forming in it.
Your voice sounds different today. Like notes played in concert with, and inspired by, our surroundings.
I get chills as water evaporates from your skin. Your cover-up thankfully mostly phoning it in. I see my spirits soar in the reflection of your aviators. I take pictures of you that social media doesn’t even nearly deserve to experience.
You put your head on my chest. I feel your laughter as I describe for you the shapes I see in the few clouds who didn’t get the memo. We set the parameters for a rock-skipping competition that will take place someday when we’re much less cozy. We nap, I think.
Sand understandably clings to your legs when we finally stand up. The sun is quickly disappearing, as if you’ve absorbed it all to recharge your batteries.
A building kiss will no longer be denied.
You exhale all the mmmms in your body as I gently bite your salty lip.
Your skin almost seems to buzz under my touch.
Your hands in my hair. Mine guiding you back to the blanket.
The lights of a cargo carrier begin to fade over the horizon, as the little waves it caused gently lap the shore.