We spend the first part of the night cruising in his new beamer heading to the shore. It's been two weeks since we’ve seen each other yet the inside of his car still smells brand new.
The moving clock reads 11:06 PM and the ride is silent besides the house beats that play on the speakers. He admits with ease that he likes my taste in music.
The crowds are scarce outside our rolled down windows. Only the reflective moon living on the edge of the road makes its words heard. I can’t help to laugh at my foolishness. It seems as if these empty night are the only times he and I meet.
“Have you been back here since our last trip?” the man asks me suddenly from his seat.
“No,” I say, “I haven’t been.”
I keep the truth to myself. I’ve gone over three times to the shore just to feel the way it did the first time we went. Of course, the waves weren’t as ample and the air was too harsh to feel any type of content as we did together.
“Have you?”, I ask for eye contact with my tone. My lips mold into a soft curl and my voice sinks to the back of my throat. I am much softer than I was before the night begun.
“Just once.” he laughs in joy and looks at me, waiting for what I assume, a smart remark back.
“That’s not fair.” I only say.
“It was an accident.”
“Sure it was...” (He's the type of person who loves to win)-
We reach the beach in less than five minutes. No words between us our said during the passing time, just the language of our nights before. As soon as the car is parked in the bare lot, he gets out, leaves the door unlocked, and walks quietly to the meeting of the sand and pavement.
“The water smells more potent than last time!” he calls out from his place without turning back.
“Yes.” I give the car door a small slam. He flinches just a bit. “Isn’t it refreshing?”
“Absolutely,” he says without moving his eyes away from the ocean.
“Will you stay here awhile?” he asks.
“So will I then.”
I laugh at him, “Won’t she care?”
“She isn’t here at the moment.”
“Oh.” (Of course, the man calls when alone). “Where is she?”
“Somewhere in Paris. A small business trip.” He smiles ever so slightly, “She should be back in a few days.”
“Then the world goes back to normal for you?”
He keeps quiet at my remark and instead, walks towards to the foaming crash of waves in the distant. I move down toward my feet to take off my shoes. The wind always creeps up once we hit the crest, leaving only small particles of sand dust to move through the inside of my toes.
“Come on.” He finally says, “Don’t be such a drag.”
The bemused man and I met two weeks ago at a local art gallery. He was there to purchase a piece for his new place in the city, while I was there to speculate the calm mass of individuals.
We stared at the same piece, for what it seemed like five minutes without saying a word. An engagement like such had never previously occurred in my life. For the closeness of another stranger, admiring something as I, who was in such close vicinity, only made the art itself awkward. It changed my perception of what I was thinking or feeling at the moment. I would always think to myself, why couldn’t they just move on to a new section in the museum?
Although with him at that time, I barely noticed his presence. It was as if he was a part of the piece, but a part that was unrecognizable until someone pointed it out to you.
He was the who broke the silence first, “It’s a bit heavy in expressionism, don’t you think?”
I glanced at him suddenly. He was wearing a black t-shirt and a matching pair of black jeans. It looked as if he hadn’t shaved in weeks. I was intrigued, not by his look, but by his argument.
“It could easily be fixed by removing their facial reactions,” I said.
He was the one now who looked me up and down.
“Oh, you think?” he asked this as if he was laughing on the inside, but his eyes read something more like propensity.
“Yes.” I was quick on my feet, “ It's so obvious what the artist wanted us to see.”
He laughed, “A bit of drag, don’t you think?”
He left without a purchase. I with much inspiration (but not from the art). The owners were not pleased.
Some nights after we had sung a tune or danced for each other in a self-indulgent way, he would ask me, “Do you remember how long we stared at it?” (there were no needs for a specific noun. I already knew what he was regarding).
“Yes”, I would say, “ but I barely noticed you.”
“Sure you did”, he would say while gracing the sides of my leg.
Although tonight the air between us is dry. He is awfully quiet...self-centered in a way...and doesn’t bring up anything from the past. Why is it, that I keep trying to picture us in some movie that I know will never face a new reality?
His shoes are still on as we walk among the dusty surface towards the waves.
“Are we swimming tonight?” I ask him carefully. I make sure to drape my jacket off my shoulders. Right away, he notices the curve in my back.
“Of course we are. Isn’t that what you wanted?”
“Yes. But we should try something new, don’t you think?”
“Sure. Whatever you want,” he says.
(It is then, that the woman wins for the first time.)