Then came a day
of magic. It wasn't planned to be that way, few often are. It was
planned to be an afternoon at the beach. They left too late,
forgot half of what they intended to pack, and were totally
unprepared for what weather would greet them there. On the way
out she said,
are we going anyway?"
Pines," he said, "it's nice there now."
And when they
got there, so it was.
They parked the
car and got out. The wind was up as it is there at times, coming
in clean from the Pacific. It smelled of salt and seaweed. The
sun was low and over the water just a bit. Cumulus clouds welled
up along the horizon and promised a sunset of incomparable
beauty, a sunset beyond comprehension.
"Looks good to
me," he said.
She smiled in
The beach was
long and stretched its arm beneath tall sandstone cliffs. When
you walked down aways you were surrounded on both sides.
and cut off," he thought, "It's a good place for
"It's cut off
and surrounded," she thought, "It's a good place for
They were both
right. It was a place for and thinking about love. That's what
caused the later words.
The wind swelled
up again so he gave her his coat.
She took it with
a smile, 'cause she knew, as a girl always does, that it would
require them to sit close later if she were to be quite the lady
he obviously thought she was.
The sun got
lower, the sky pink and gold. The only sound was the scream of
plummeting gulls, and the wind kissing the waves' white-laced
necks like in Tales of Brave Ulysses. So that's who was
there; just them, the sky, the waves, and sand.
awhile," she whispered, so's not to break his thoughts, for he
hadn't said a word.
They picked a
place at the base of the cliff to give themselves a view. He
pulled a joint out of his pocket and tried to light it. This the
wind would not allow.
"It's OK," she
said, "try this instead," and gave him a kiss. The kiss was
softwarm and wet, and carefully delivered. So much better it
"You must be
cold," she said and snuggled up close. It was only too obvious to
her he had something on his mind. Women know such things because
they can cook. She knew he had a thought baking. She could tell
by the smell of him.
He looked at her
face. He knew she knew what was coming. He knew they'd come to
the point between them where it might be said with impunity. And
he was guilty of the thought, so it was time to confess.
The sun dipped
lower, setting flame to the clouds. Cumulus rims turned gold. The
heat spread, setting the night on fire. Jim Morrison roared his
roar. He felt it was time. He'd entered the confessional of sand
wave and cliff. He said to her ear, so afraid of seeing her
"I love you, you
"It's OK ," she
said, "Don't worry. I love you too."
The words were
out. If they meant exactly the same thing to each of them it
would have been a miracle. But they were out, and right now that
was good enough. It was what they both needed to hear.
He let out a
breath and looked into her eyes. When he was satisfied she wasn't
lying or saying it just for form he squeezed her tight to protect
her from the wind. But one thing he needn't do now was protect
her. His coat did that. What he really needed to do was protect
her from himself. He didn't know what was within himself, or what
he was capable of. But it was too late. He'd already said the
words. Then something unexpected happened. He suddenly seemed
to feel a chill, dropped his arms from around her and clasped
them to himself as if for warmth. There was no going back. She
took off the coat and blanketed him with it as if he were an
autumn leaf trembling with the sudden awareness of its own
mortality. She fell over him, covering him with herself. She
heard him say, though it was more to himself than her,
going to be easy."
"I know," she
answered calmly, her breath close to his ear.
"I know," she
repeated even softer to herself.
When they left
the beach at dusk the sky had turned to ink and gold. Their
tracks in the wet sand, with each stepping step, glowed with the
sparkle of florescent diatoms disturbed by the pressure of their
feet. Those caught by the ebb tide were busy dying.
relationship freely entered would be caught there too, trapped by
the words of love they uttered, captured in their own poison red
tide of love, tangled by the love-knot she'd plaited in her hair
with her own delicate fingers and placed around his neck.
When they got in
the car and drove away, the sand, the cliffs, the sky and waves,
faded off into the distance, where they'd been all the time, and
were as forgotten as easily as sentences spoken in dreams.