Monday, December 6, 2010

Long Beach



You looked beautiful that day, and I should have told you. I watched you in the ocean, the waves hitting your shoulders and chest before making their way to me and my scared little feet. It wasn't just the undertow of the water that I was scared of, it was the relentless pull of you. I was afraid of being surprised: my heart had that same expression you get when you think you're safe and then suddenly you're not and your eyes open wide as you clutch empty fistfuls of air, trying to right yourself.

The ridges of your hipbones fit into the palms of my hands the way the coasts of continents fit, anciently, prehistorically. As the water came to meet us, you moved forward, towards it, so slowly that I didn't notice until I tried to stand without you and found that I could not. You had initiated me with the kind of speed that felt eternal, and I had no choice but to hang on.

My feet became heavy with sand and premonition as we walked back to our towels, and I hurried to brush it off. I wanted very badly to rid myself of my mistrust of the current, and of my unsteadiness at the prospect of being swept up in it. I thought that maybe if I laid there long enough, I would diffuse into the beach and some tiny child would come along and build me into a sandcastle or a dragon. I hoped a dragon- I wanted the fierceness, the though stone walls of a castle would be useful, too. As we got ready to leave, our things mingled together in a pile while waiting for us to shake the blankets out. I was sorry to be the one to sort them and tell them they didn't belong together, though they surely did.

We fell asleep on the train; well- you did, anyway, and I watched you, marveling at the divine confluence of time and change that brought me here. When you stirred and pulled me to you, I felt a kind of giving over. Not giving in, because giving in means sacrificing or compromising what you want and I did neither of those things, very much on purpose. Giving is correct because there was a release, a sort of opening up, and when the sand fell from my suit in the shower, the grains on the tile sounded like something new.

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