I climbed out of bed wearing my new PJ’s, pulled on my fluffy robe and slipped the baby monitor into the gaping pocket. I opened the sliding glass doors to step out onto my little patio and sat on the yellow canvas deck chair, pulled my knees into my chest and wrapped my arms around them, arranging my robe to cover any exposed parts of skin. The Florida-winter wind blew in my hair and I realized I was questioning everything. Nothing was right. It was like I was in the middle of a board game and had been stumbling up and down the chutes and ladders so much that I didn’t even know where I was anymore. My favorite little yellow beach flowers were blowing in the wind and I admired their beauty, how they established themselves, winding their green foliage across the sand like garland.
I put my toe in the sand to feel the cold grains slide over my skin. Chris was coming home this morning. It was hard not to obsess over his bizarre request to renew our vows. As if things would be different after a wedding, as if our first one wasn’t good enough for him.
I kicked some sand over a little spider making its way over to my foot;
then worried about it and searched around gently with my toe to try and find it again. I leaned over and blew where I thought it might be and jumped a little when I uncovered it. It scurried off to safety, far from me. Would telling Chris, ‘no’ about the vow-renewal business, be screwing things up? I rubbed my forehead, this was so stressful. To calm myself down, I imagined that he wasn’t coming back this afternoon, that I had the freedom of the beach all to myself all day. I stood up and walked across the little stepping stone path to the sand then down to the ocean. The wind blew my hair so that it stuck on my lips and I pulled it away in vain and watched the sunrise throw a rippling golden path from it’s rising orb, across the water to my feet as though I were supposed to step out onto it. No one was out here. It was quiet except for the roar of the waves. I saw dolphins near the buoy and watched them for a long time as they slid effortlessly through the white crashing surf. I was envious of the simplicity of their existence.
I looked behind me, and gasped to see Chris walking
towards me, three hours earlier than expected. He had his huge
rucksack and his guitar case strapped to his back. He shed them onto the sand and headed towards me, grinning.
He looked really scruffy. His face was very stubbly,
practically had a beard going. He was wearing a black hoodie and
black jeans, and a black baseball cap. It seemed like he should be in the NY
subway rather than out here on the beach. I hadn’t seen him for months.
The last time I saw him was right here, and I remembered the tears and his disgust and anger. It was so strange to see him smiling, looking like
a different person. He took his hat off, and tossed it behind
him onto his rucksack as he came towards me. His hair flopped
in his eyes. I had never seen it that long before.
He just scooped me up and kissed me. A rush of relief washed
over me. He hugged me tightly and kissed me some more, it was dizzying.
I pulled away and looked at him and combed his hair out of his
eyes with my fingers. “Who are you?” I said, and smiled at him.
“Just some guy on the beach.” he said, his arms still wrapped around me.
“You look very different” I said, a little nervously.
“You look the same, Odette. Same as the day I met you ten years ago.”
He took my hand and kissed it. Then he turned and pulled
us towards his bag and guitar, grabbed them off the sand then he guided us across the stepping stones to my room. Inside it was so much
warmer. He simply went and locked the bedroom door and started
peeling his clothes off. I was a little apprehensive. I hadn’t seen him
in so long and he looked so different. It really was almost like having a
stranger in the room. I just stood there and watched, slightly
stunned as he stripped down to his black jeans and as he started to unbutton them I said, “wait.”
He looked at me surprised,”for what?”
“I don’t know. Just wait.” I took the baby monitor out of my pocket and put it on the bedside table. He went and sat on my bed, shirtless and I thought about going and picking it up off the floor and throwing it at him to put it back on. But instead I sat down calmly next to him. “Hi” I said and smiled.
“Hi” he grinned and kissed me again but I pulled away.
“Why are you here so early?”
“Luke, brought me into town in his private jet.” He raised his eyebrows
at me like I was supposed to be impressed.
“When was the last time you took a shower?” I said.
He shrugged and said, “before I got on the plane.”
“I dont really like airplane germs.”
“Well, if you’d let me take my clothes off there won’t be any airplane germs on your bed.” He shook his head and laughed to himself, then ran the back of his finger gently up and down my arm.
“Can we just talk for a while?” I said and took a big breath.
“Sure. What do you want to talk about?”
He took his jeans off, threw them into the pile by his shirt and bag, and
got under my covers in his boxers. “Its cold!” he said, “Come and
warm me up!”
I just sat there and said,”Did you see the Dolphins out there?”
“No, I was looking at you, remember?”
“Would you want to be a dolphin?” I looked at my fingernails.
“Because I like having access to tylanol when I have a headache, and antibiotics
when I get sick.”
“Hmm,” I said. “You think Dolphins get headaches?”
“Probably, he said. “They have bigger brains than us, so…bigger headaches.”
I nodded. “Yeah, and I guess you would have to be worried about being
killed by a human, if you were a dolphin.”
“Maybe,” he said.”But don’t you think that it is more likely to be killed
by a human, if you are a human? I mean, who really wants to murder a dolphin?”
“I don’t know, Odette” he laughed. “Are we done talking now?”
I scooted over to sit next to him and he put the covers up over
me and pulled me in to him.
“Take this huge robe off at least” he murmered.
“OK.” I took it off and he looked at my blue silk PJ’s.
I had expected to be out of these and in my clothes by the time he got here.
“Where did you get these?” he said, right away.
“Evan left them for me” I said. “Isn’t that funny?”
“What? Why he giving you fucking silk pajamas?”
I shrugged, waiting for him to have a fit, but he simply said,
“Well then, we need to get you out of them, immediately!”
I couldn’t help but laugh as he kissed my neck while
each button came free under his fingertips and then he smoothed his hands
across my back as my shirt fell away. I wasn’t nervous anymore. He seemed familiar
again…his warm chest against me, and his kisses were mesmerizing.
There was an urgency about him that was amazing to feel, but one
that I couldn’t return. So I put my hands up over my head and let him just guide us to where he wanted us to be. And if I closed my eyes, folded my leg over him, with his rough face against my soft cheek, I wasn’t lost anymore.