Seascape Wishes and Tidal Goodbyes

Short fiction contest: second place winner

If I could talk to you I wouldn’t have to say anything, I’d just fall into you and swim as deep as I could, far away from the surface. I’d swim so deep that I would have only you to breathe. Inside you, I would hold on so tight that all of my ideas would leave me and I’d just be me, inside of you. I wouldn’t cry because it would just be me and it would all leave me with nothing to be sad for, no memory and no future. The sweet, sharp smell of your body would be stuck to mine, so later when I turned my head I’d smell you there, on my shoulder, as if we never parted. Never parted. Together, me and you, breathing and smelling, taking up skin and taste and smell into our mouths and leaving sticky kisses in our paths. Scratches and redness left behind to mark our territories all the way down my back and around your neck, vibrantly calling us back; the edges and curves of our bones pressed so close together that they make dust between them. I’d drink in all your sounds, swallowing them like swallowing a mouthful of steam, down into my insides where I could get to know them before they became my own sounds and left my mouth the same way.

If I could fall into you I wouldn’t have to think about you, because inside you, there is no thinking, only being and breathing and smelling and feeling; like a secret door leading out of my life and into the place where you and I exist. And if I could give you these thoughts I wouldn’t need to, not like this. They would not have become so swollen within me; they’d have flown freely like the river they had been, streaming into your sea, becoming the same.

Instead, I stand on your shore where my toes are so close they catch splashes of spume and feel the soft sea glass sliding by. And I stay stuck in this place where I can’tfeel your cool and taste your salt, I can only watch and smell and wish that your tide comes back to reach me.

Do you know you are the sea? Can you feel me waiting in the sand? Am I the moon, powerless to stop your tide from sliding away after I pulled it in so far?

How do you tell the sea it is the sea? Surely it knows, feels the massive movements of its body and the violence of its spirit. Surely it feels the land around it, the way it’s cradled on all sides in solid safety.

Only a foolish moon thinks she could lay with the sea like lovers do, married in time and place, peaceful despite the magnetism of her push and pull. She gives the body the illusion of freedom, but the tides ride on her whim. The sea casts the moon off before any real damage sets in. Good sense or fear disguised in rationale; self-preservation masked in logic?

Your body, liquid and strong, curved and sloped in every angle, fit over me like a skin. A barrier between my self and my life, you came in between like a film and cast a blurred haze over the sharp edges of my experience. So sure I was heading for the crumbling end of a dying glacier, I was reluctant to set sail; your beauty scared me, your rocky motion so new and terrifying after having made my place on land for so long.

The way you’re body moves draws me in a way that I can’t escape, in a way that only something as big and beautiful as you can, and I lean into your pull even though you push me away.

How long will it take for me to forget your waves and the way you held me, our bodies swaying and swirling, the pulse of our passion, your eyes in my eyes? One day I will walk off this shore; abandon the idea of your salt on my skin. One day, another body will come, available, open, and reach into me, and I’ll leave your sand behind me.

Still, I’ll remember the beauty of your seascape; the way you laid wishes on my stomach. I’ll bronze the moment that made me wander onto your shore, the one that made your tide reach for me and pull me in. Maybe I’ll keep your sand between my toes.


Contest, Fiction, Short

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