Then He Took the Water
“I’m preparing myself,” he said, a trickle of orange juice still lingering, beaded into tiny dots in his beard, the cup loose in his right hand. “Because you never know when the moment will present itself. I’ve not been ready before. I can’t think of a worse feeling than missed opportunity.”
From the bottom of her beach bag, she took out a tube of sunscreen. She preferred the lotions to sprays, as the sensuality of application was lost in the pressing of a button. Besides, it was near impossible to be certain as to the thickness of a spray-on screen. The patchy sunburn she dealt with last June was all the evidence she needed. She held the tube in her hand, waiting for him to take it from her, to not miss this opportunity.
He suddenly shifted subjects.
“Fifty pushups each morning. Seventy five at lunch. Fifty more before bed.” He patted his bare chest with his left hand. “Amazing for the shoulders and back. The best all over core workout there is. Don’t fall for the gimmicks or the fads. Good, old-fashioned pushups.” He laughed, drank the rest of his juice in one giant, open gullet gulp, then used his forearm to wipe his lips.
He was the same. Always and forever the same.
For the first time, she wondered why she was here on this beach with him, staring out at her favorite ocean. It sounded blissful at first, a day away, the sun, the sound of the water, maybe a back-rub or a few soft kisses. Now, all she wanted was to walk out and into the waves, let the current take her.
It was quiet for twenty minutes before things shifted a third time. The sound of the water, the laughter and rustling of other beach-goers hung between them. He looked at her, sunglassed eye towards sunglassed eye.
“This morning when you called, I almost didn’t answer.” He waited for her to respond, when she didn’t he continued. “It’s because everything means too much, or never enough.”
He stood, the darkness of his shadow surprising and heavy across her face and neck.
“I’m going in. You can come if you like.” She winced. He turned and ran down to the waters edge.