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Memories In the Sand
If ever a moment in real life deserved a romantic, melancholy backing track, it would have been that one ... we'd spent the entire afternoon at Ferry Beach, sunning and playing frisbee, I playing guitar, she practicing her ballet barefoot on the beach, (as I watched the regular patterns it made in the sand), and walking down to the end together, where the cliffs push the road up and away from the water, like a rocky pie crust or the crumbly edge of a fruit tart, not fit for anything but a proper end to the beach and sea - the proper place for them to meet ... We had just enjoyed our basket of goodies for an improvised "lover's" dinner - a couple of different cheeses, dry blush wine, Belin crackers, prosciutto, and fresh baguette - topped off with honey kefir and fresh wild strawberries, small but so tasty. As it was now late in the day, everyone had gone home a couple hours prior, that is, everyone who had been around the point - there were still a few people on the opposite side of the penin- sula, near the parking lot, but that was about a ten minute walk from where we had arranged our blankets, just nigh of the dunes and the snow fencing, (protecting the tern nests). This was years before it became the dog-walking haven that it is now, so no one ever came around the point much after 6PM, and knowing this we took fine advantage, like it was our own perfect, private beach. As the sun got nearer to the western horizon, the temp dropped a bit, and we huddled under the blankets, making slow, exquisite love, then lay exhausted like spoons in a drawer, pretending we were an old married couple looking back on a lifetime together, even naming our "pretend" children, and recalling our imagined travels and holidays ... If any "stragglers" DID happen to come around the point before the sun set, we pretended to be appalled, and commented on how we'd most certainly have to 'build our fences higher', and hire more security people to guard the boundaries of our (make-believe) beachfront estate. On the longest days of the summer, the sun wouldn't near the horizon until after 830 PM, and we would always make sure that we were silent when its edges touched the water, imagining it was a hot ember, or a knob of red-hot steel that was being dunked into water to hold its shape, and despite the crash of waves sweeping onto the shore, we were certain that we could hear the sun make a sizzling sound, (but we were far too preoccupied that day). Those are the silly things you can believe when you're young, along with the dream that true love lasts forever, that the last years of life will prove that you DID make it to old age as a couple, and that all those years in-between were even MORE wondrous and prosperous than you imagined. But reality is often much different, and if someone had told me then that this amazing girl and I would one day be thousands of miles apart, and that she'd completely purge me from her life and mind and heart, I would have thought them crazy ... I never even considered not being with her, or that I'd go over thirty-five years without hearing her voice or seeing her smile or reading a loving note written by her petite, graceful hand ... I never dreamed that that gorgeous, talented, brilliant young woman, who I was as close to for five years as anyone has ever been or could ever be to another human being, would be naught but a distant memory ... I never even imagined that the girl who had promised her heart and soul and life to me, so many times I couldn't count, would ever be anything but my partner for eternity ... I never could have conceived that my soul mate, my life's one true love, would someday not even care to speak my name, or wonder whether or not I was still alive or happy, for I was never as alive as I was then, and never so completely sure about ANYthing, as I was US and my love for her, and her love for me. Still, life blew us both around like the grains of sand on that very special beach, swept us both up, and carried us off across different oceans, setting us down a lifetime and a million breaths apart, with a hundred broken hearts from then 'til now, and a hundred stories of others and tears and pain and laughter and joy, all shared with someone else, or a dozen someone elses ... Now, the life I have that has nothing to do with her, is as real as THAT life was that had EVERYthing to do with her, yet my heart is still the same heart, despite all the time and passions in-between, and the wholly different existence I have now, and it STILL longs for her, and all that those silly dreams meant to the both of us, all those soft, summer sunsets ago. Now the sun is once again nearing the horizon, and the days of my life are shortening - the shadows growing longer - and I dream of the things that once made me feel so alive, and the ONE who made me feel so important and vital, and I long to just once more lay upon the sand with her, and draw the blankets close ... I long to look back on life with her, with fond reflection and joy, and recall how foolish and fragile and callow our hearts were then ... to once again make slow, exquisite love under the blankets, and lay spooning, exhausted. But alas, dreams will once again have to suffice, and she will have to remain in my mind's eye, locked away forever in the round-tower of my soul ... I will have only the memories of her to warm me now, but you see, we learned to be EXPERT dreamers, she and I, and as the sun of my life sets into the ocean of ages, I will imagine her smile floating like a lily, I will feel her fingers filling the spaces between mine perfectly, I will listen carefully to the sizzle of the sun and the slowing of my heart, and I will watch for the regular patterns in the sand, as she dances her ballet ... On the beach before me. ~ 1st Place ~ in the the "Regal Royal Relationships" Poetry Contest, Chantelle Anne Cooke, Judge & Sponsor.
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