H. M. L. Swann
Day 24: The Sea
300 Days of Writing
Day 24 The Sea:
I met him at the sea.
It was cool, the summer air threatening to disappear into autumn as the sun set, sinking behind the horizon. The ocean looked pink, its frothy bits reminding me of a strawberry milkshake.
When I first saw him, he didn’t notice me. He didn’t have company or distraction, but he was staring out to sea as if it had answers written across its rippling surface. I looked in that direction too, for a moment, and saw nothing but water and salt and fading light, so I looked back to him. My gaze couldn’t be pulled away from him for longer than a few moments. I wanted him to see me. Really see me. I wanted him to feel my stare, feel it pull at him, entice him to see my short black hair, my well defined biceps, my carefully posed to be casual stance, but he never looked.
The sea had him.
A breeze shifted, and blew away from the mountains and across the beach, carrying his scent. He smelled of sandalwood, seaweed, and damp firewood, like an abandoned beach party. It was intoxicating, and in my drunken haze, I approached him.
“Hello,” I said, reaching an arm out to him as if to take his hand. He didn’t look at me, and I wondered if I’d offended him, as if his fragile masculinity couldn’t handle my approach, but then again, I’d only said ‘hello’ so I tried again to speak to him. “Beautiful sunset.”
“It always is, isn’t it?” he said, not looking away from the ocean.
“Have you ever disliked the sun? Truly hated its rays? Hated its motion across the sky?”
“I guess not.”
He nodded and stepped closer to the water, skirting the edge between the wet and dry sand, his feet were covered in a fine layer of it.
“Are you from around here?” I ventured again. He was so beautiful, I wanted to know everything about him, and better yet, if he lived here, if I could ask him out for drinks or coffee.
“I guess you could say that.”
“Me too. Just over the boulevard.”
“No. not like that.”
His tone was cold, and the wind picked up again, sending goosebumps across my sunburned shoulders. “I don’t understand.”
He finally turned to me. His eyes yellow like the sun. “Of course you don’t,” he said, and he walked into the water.
I watched him go. Slowly. A processional. A funeral for his life on land. A wedding for his marriage to the sea.
I was silent until he was neck-deep. “Stop! Come back!” I said, but his head slipped beneath the salty waves and was gone.