The ocean rumbles. Of course. Sitting before it, waves undulating towards me. The soft whispers of a receding tide. blue ripples out to the horizon and one hears little else.
I hear it, not the present vastness but an echo. Like the ocean contained within a seashell. I know I am not truly here. On the shore. With these strangers. I am still with him.
In my mind, I see us. At this beach alone, ignoring the cool water lapping our bodies, the damp sand. All we see, and feel, is what burgeons between us.
We lie there hand in hand, baking beneath the sun. Him tanning, then burning, me settling into the shiny brown of burnished wood. Paradise...
I see him, wading, looking at me with a smile, wet to his waist. On his lips an unspoken invitation. Why didn't I run to him, one last time?
I see myself reading, then furrowing my brow as I glance up and see: An ocean, happy families, some... thing? Someone? Bobbing in the distance.
Before the whistle, before the lifeguard's cries, I am already up, running past the surf and past smiling toddlers, ignoring the bite of rocks in the sand. Ignoring the beguiling call of the sea. I run to you, but you are already gone.
Funny how the world keeps spinning, even as ours burns. They tell me it was an aneurysm, you felt no pain. That I was left to feel for two.
And so here I sit. At the beach alone. Everything seems so distant, even you, even as I imagine you beckoning silently from the dark.
Reaching toward you, the ocean roars in my ears like a tempest. I taste metal in my mouth, hear faint screams. I squeeze tight, and...
...suddenly, I hear nothing, see nothing, not waves, not passersby, not their horror.
All I see is us.
All I see is your smile, waves lapping at our bodies intertwined, as we ignore them and the sand. As we lie-here together-on the beach.