All I Could Manage
The Earth shifted underneath my flip-flops. Grains of sand wedged between the thongs, etching their presence into my flesh. The roach was nearly out but I could already feel euphoria surging. My heart raced madly. My body felt weightless as my gaze landed on the horizon. Just hours ago the sky was a painter’s dream, filled with streaks of blues, reds, purples and greens. But now where the sun kissed the Earth goodnight, the heavens and the sea morphed into a body of darkness.
The bustling noise from the Miami nightlife began to fall silent. The clattering pitter-patter of pedestrians; the honks and screeching brakes from various vehicles; and the cacophony of music from beachfront shops, diminished from a mighty roar to a faint whisper. A hazy, orange glow engulfed the surrounding buildings, but their artificial light could not outshine the captivating stars overhead. As the ocean waves below softly rolled onto shore, they danced in delight among the noctilucent clouds.
The air was cool but humid, like the breath of a lover anticipating a kiss, sweetly blowing against my skin. My own lover was the only other on the beach this night. His almond-shaped brown eyes were low, glazed over in euphoria, but still full of the same light as always. We exchanged smiles, the kind that should have ended seconds ago but we were too awkward to stop. I sat my things down on the steps of the lifeguard tower, removed my sandy sandals, and ushered him to do the same. Though the moon wasn’t visible, hidden somewhere or possibly with it’s own lover, the sun, I still felt its presence, pulling the tide as well as myself closer.
I planted my feet into the sand and braced myself for the stinging, cold waters. The waves retreated briefly, and then gently inched closer to where I stood. I focused my attention back to the horizon and let the possibilities and wonders of life drift out to sea. To my surprise, when the waters washed over my feet on this November evening, it was warm and inviting.
“Baby!” I exclaimed to him, “The water is warm!”
He beamed with joy and joined me by my side. He did the same as I had, planted his feet into the sand, and braced for the water. Another set of waves crawled in, splashing between the creases of our feet. The clouds had begun to accompany the dancing stars, swirling about in passing. I gathered my maxi dress so that it wouldn’t get wet and walked further into the ocean. He held my hand all the while.
As the water splashed against my lower calves, I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing.
My chest expanded and filled with life.
All my troubles, worries, insecurities, and burdens had fled. He grasped my hand firmly, assuring me that he was still here. I shook his to let him know I was fine. I opened my eyes, only to find his pair staring me down.
He grinned his boyish grin, the one that allowed his baby dimple to show, and pulled me into his chest. His heart was beating slow and steady. There were no skips, no drags, or any sudden acceleration. It was a peaceful, rhythmic cadence that excited my dying internal flame.
I’ve never known love to exist in this form: as an energy constantly being exchanged from one being to another. I’ve seen it manifested into superficial and material things. I’ve seen it manipulated and compared to lesser entities. I’ve seen love whither, crumble, and decay like an autumn leaf, leaving no trace that it ever existed. But these moments shared between he and I were nothing of that sort. It surpassed human definition and comprehension.
Our eyes locked and without uttering one word, we had come to the same conclusion: we have reached what all the love songs and cheesy rom-coms try so hard to be, a place so unique, boundless, and ever growing. At about 11:47 p.m. I had finally discovered bliss. I beamed from ear to ear, blinking back tears, yet he let his fall and I let the walls around my heart crumble to a pile of rubble. I took his face and gently caressed it in my hands.
“I love you,” was all that I could manage to say.
Bri Simpson is Creative Assassin at AB+L Radio. You can see and purchase her artwork at www.brisimpsonart.com