I wrote this quite some time ago. Wanted to share, I feel it’s a good piece.
That happens in January on the wet coast, during a mild season. The folks from back East complain that West-coasters are wimps with our rain and how our cities shut down at the first hint of snow. But they don’t understand our cold. It seeps into the bones, makes you weary, refuses to retreat from within you. Our cold takes your toes, fingers, nose and ears hostage, only leaving reluctantly after several minutes of standing or sitting by the fire, putting on fresh woolly socks and wrapping your hands around a mug of tea or hot coffee.
They are walking. There is no snow; it is a green winter wonderland. The sun is shining, and it’s weakly warm when you find a sunny patch to stand in, letting the heat seep into the back of your jackets. In the shade, it’s bloody cold. In the mornings there is sometimes frost, but it’s always gone after an hour or two of sun. They walk side-by-side, hand-clasped. Sometimes they talk, discuss a passing item of interest. They are both young, wandering throughout a city.
They reach a park, by the ocean. The best part is the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Today, it’s a shiny slate-blue, reflective of the winter sky. It’s windy, the air from somewhere on the Pacific tinged with salt whipping against their faces, chilling their cheeks, flying through her hair. She wishes she brought a hair-elastic along. They stand facing each other, holding both hands, but looking out over the ocean. Always cold, she shivers, and reclaims her hands to tuck them close to her body through her wool pea coat. It’s lovely and fits well, but not very warm, even with layers underneath.
He pulls her in to him, wraps his arms around her, protecting her from the world. She leans her head on his chest, avoiding the metal clasps on his jacket for they’re very cold on her skin. She relaxes, lets herself enjoy this moment. It is poetic and clichéd and romantic. Together, looking out over the wild Pacific, wondering just how far would they have to go from here to find the next continent? Would they bump into Russia? Or somewhere else, in Asia?
She can hear his voice rumble in his chest, standing, leaning against him. His voice lowered so only she can hear. He tells of adventures, the very same ones she was just thinking. His words thrill her, they make her smile. They tell her how much he cares, how much he wants she the same things she does. She’s happy. She thinks she can hear his heart beat with a happy tone.
Her lips are parted. She exhales, eyes closed. The breath escaped in a slight shudder. Inhale. Open eyes now. The lids flick up, edged with long dark lashes. Her blue eyes startling, the merest hint of yellow, maybe burnished gold, at the pupil’s edge making them wholly unusual. She looks up to the sky. She looks away. Glances at him, well, at his jacket-covered chest. Looks out over the salty, rolling water.
As much as she wanted to look at him, his face, she cannot. She didn’t know if emotions were supposed to manifest in physical sensations within, but they did for her. Right now, she felt her heart hurt. It was bursting; imploding. Or Exploding?
She is happy. She hopes he is as well. She wants to love him. She might, one day. Give it time. Her heart was broken, she hopes it healed right, but there are no x-rays or tests to test heart strength when it doesn’t involve atrioventricular valves or sinoatrial nodes. She hopes she knows how to love like an adult. Childish love is all-consuming and dangerous. Exhilarating, trying, inexplicable and incredible.
“Can adult love be as good? The sex is better, now that we know what we’re doing, but sex is sex. Can he love me? Does he love me? Will he ever love me like the romantics?” Words whirl a storm in her head. His hand tangles in her hair and then gently pulls the elastic from the strands, letting her hair flow in the wind, tangling around his hand as he strokes her head, playing with her hair. A simple gesture that makes her melt.
Her mind quiets. She wishes, and immediately takes it back, that she could know his mind, his thoughts. What does he wonder? Is he also revelling in the romance or wishing they would move away from the shore and its relentless gusting wind?