Sunset skies paint the white stones indigo.
We lower ourselves to sit on the cool rock’s edge, and sharp crevices in the stone scrape at our tanned legs. Warmth rushes through us to hug the red marks left by these little cool blades. But this warmth is not our own. It is taken from the stone which wounds us. Our wounds hug this warmth; accepting it as apology; knowing warmth is the only way for wounds to become smooth skin. Each time we move to adjust, the silence between us a discomfort only motion can quell, we feel stinging heat, then refreshing cool. A thousand I’m sorry’s made manifest in
I overthink when I’m with you and I usually only overthink about work. Maybe that’s why I defer to speaking about your hobbies, interests, daily activities. I come off as boring, asexual. I’m really just doing what I know; resigning myself to habit; talking about politics and childhood pets… Oh god.
My heart races. My mind stills. Words escape me. And they never escape me. Maybe it’s a sign, I tell myself. Don’t get too attached. Apology rises through throbbing legs, filling language-less throat, staying there. Because an apology requires a subject; because I’m still not sure who it’s for.
Water laps against the rocky sides below, spraying us with salty mist. We sit together, our two bodies close, but not touching. They say that opposites attract, but there is a void between us, a siren. It flags this small space between opposite ends of our dipole. Perhaps only I can hear this warning cry. It fills my head all the same. Not just here, on the purple stone, but when I see you in a café, or walking towards me on the sidewalk. When distance stands between us nerves percolate through my veins; avert my eyes from yours. I look down at my phone. I study my chipped green nail polish. I even bend down to tie my shoes. A bodiless voice tells me we are estranged, and my actions make it so that we are: they sever me from you, so that we are two bodies, marking the rock as a colon marks a page. A pause. An awaiting.
An especially large wave rolls in and suddenly I’m squeezing water out of my hair; he’s shaking it out of his. I smile when he smiles; laugh when he laughs. We’re always laughing, aren’t we?
The water enrobes us, presses us together like a period. A breath. We laugh and the rhythm of our laughter is the same. Words, growing out of the moisture of salty spray, nourished by the light of your laughter, fill my mouth once more. They fill the air. And you take them, replenishing mine with your own.
It’s funny how distance changes things between us, don’t you think? Reveals that perhaps we aren’t occupying opposite poles, but the same pole. We are repulsed because we are the same; we are attracted because perhaps, we know that in sameness, there is understanding.
Your eyes drop to the water below. They’re glistening with excitement when you look at me again. We’re already wet. You smirk. Might as well…
It’s a far way down.
You’re standing up.
You glance back at me, wearing a grin so warm, so welcoming, it lifts me up.
My feet sting.
Your feet are in the air.
Distance grows, but this time, I’m not repulsed.
Sirens growing louder now.
You’re falling faster and faster.
And I jump.