Bookends (Heartbreak)

Elizabeth Beach, Australia

I wake up in a warm black cocoon of human funk, curled on my side with my nose in your armpit. Stoned with sleep, my eyes register nothing and I wonder what happened to the sky. Wriggling free of the blankets, the air is cool and damp with last night’s drizzle or this morning’s dew. A few tenacious stars cling to the deep blue velvet of the sky defiant of the warm pink and orange glow oozing over the horizon. The rippling waves echo last night’s quiet laughter. The seagulls dive and swoop without calling.

You shift, slurring murmured curses at the cold and tuck your nose against my neck. I pull my hat over my ears and settle back to watch the color seep back into the cliffs above the car. The trees on the far side of the road whisper to the rushes swaying on the dunes. I wonder if this place feels as remote to the day trippers leaving as we arrived last night as it does to me this morning, waking up with no one in sight, having driven a week to get here. I turn my cheek against yours and whisper, are you waking up?

You grunt and burrow deeper before arching into a yawning growling stretch. When your eyes open they are already focused on mine and I watch your lips curl into a private smile. You touch my forehead with yours. Our arms wind around each other. My eyes close and I am resting at the deep bottom of dreamspace looking up through still waters at the play of light on the surface. I am wrapped in the embrace of weightlessness, still and free.

We watch the sunrise over the ocean, sitting up in our sandy bed with the blankets pulled tight around our waists. We share some water to rinse the red wine fuzz and grit from our teeth. We share a smoke and watch the sea dance with the rays of the sun. There was no moon last night. The French translation of “honeymoon” is literal; lune de miel, moon of honey. I wonder if that’s true in other languages; if the idiom transcends culture and every human animal dreams of a warm night wrapped in an embrace while honey oozes golden and sweet over the curve of the moon.

I rest my head on your shoulder. Your hand is firm but gentle on my back. Suddenly you exclaim and point and I look up to watch the arc breaking the water’s surface and rise and rise and rise and rise and rise and peak into a fin before he dives and the curves descends and descends and descends. He must have been at least 7 meters! A seagull calls overhead. For a moment we just stare in wonder.

Praia Agrada, Portugal

I walk into the delicate mists of morning, the surge swallowing my footprints. The sand ends in soaring striations of stone. I stare up at its face and lay my head on the stone. Tell me ancient one, what do you know about strength? What do you know about memory? The answer emerges in an unseen instant. History is a story with no beginning. Everything changes in the end.

I climb the sandy trail past a bloom of morning star jasmine and the cloud of their sweet scent. In a clearing under trees I name baobab from a story I read once, I tiptoe past the tents where dreamers dance in the heat of last night’s fire. I reach out to touch the scars on warm red skin. I look up into the arching halo of green. Tell me ancient one, what do you know about pain? What do you know about truth? The answer comes from the roots. It comes from the sky. We live, we reach, we grow and one day we too will die.

I look up into the black searching the landscape of infinity, each tiny light a window to endless possibility. Tell me ancient ones, what do you know about eternity? What do you know about love? The whisper echoes from a dream. We’re coming darling. We fly to you on wings of light. We reach you breathless and you are already gone.

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