Back to back they sat in wind-whipped sand, beating hearts to bumpy spines. Her brown hair streamed and stung his cheek. Twisting his elbow, his hand found its way to her lap and she met it with locked fingers.
His thumb stroked absently back and forth across her knuckle until she squeezed his hand gently.
I’m trying, he answered. The waves crashed. Do you think it will ever pass?
She dropped his hand and swung around to straddle his lap. And what if it doesn’t? Her brown eyes penetrated his, leaving him childish. He tried to hide under his usual cheery composure, but not today.
Today his heart ran thin and he dropped back into the sand. Grains pressed into his hair and down the collar of his sweater and he didn’t care. His gaze diverted to the shoreline, despite burning to level with hers.
She sized him up from above. Her man. An oversized boy. She bent down, arms folded across his chest, her nose and inch from his cheek.
Her warm breath contrasted the ocean breeze, commanding attention. He returned from the shoreline to her wide eyes, so close his focus was soft. The weight of her body pressed into his and he received it.
I don’t know how to word it.
She felt him pulling away again. I know. Or else you would have said it already. She took the palms of his hands in hers and pinned them to the ground above his head in surrender.
I don’t want to be like this…
I know that. Her eyes remained steady on him. And it’s ok. She nudged him sideways and he lay on top.
She faced him squarely. Patiently. Presupposing nothing. And with those constant eyes he was knocked breathless, until he had to sit up. Not to escape to the shore again, but to comprehend what lay before him.
It doesn’t bother you?
I don’t like it. But I understand it’s there.
With those words, he felt the first of it begin to seep from him. Unresolved. But it drained from him unresolved like a swing-set unraveling its twisted chain.
She brought his head to her breast and held him as his tears ran wet and unawares to him.
And the weight of his body pressed into hers, and she received it.