ROMANTIC FLASH FICTION 7:
As the sun caressed the golden sand with delicate summer rays, an ocean wave submerged the soft sand around my bare feet. The water felt cool and rejuvenating. Milky, frothy bubbles chastely retreated back to the sea while I breathed in the salty fresh air. The next wave slithered up quickly like a stealthy snake, covering my ankles and splashing my pant legs, but I didn’t move, managing a weak smile. Curious, squawking seagulls flew low over the shallow waves by the shore, hoping I had something they wanted. More of their friends joined them and took a mere passing glance at me before giving up and gliding in for a landing further down the beach.
No chance I had anything anyone wanted, I thought to myself. I was alone on the long stretch of sand and had come here to get her out of my mind. But how could I? She had been my world, my everything, for so long. When I closed my eyes, she was there. When I opened them again, she had not gone away. Yet she had. One day in early May, with the spring rains soaking the newly green trees, she had packed up her things and left me standing on the front porch with my hands in my pockets and my heart in a vice.
So every morning since, I would roll up my pant legs and stroll up and down the strand, listening to the rolling waves, picking up a seashell, wading in the shallow waves, or tossing a stone into the deep water further out.
All except for the woman in the white hooded windbreaker. We were like passing ships in the ocean breeze, strolling by each other from one end of the beach to the other. Every morning it was just the two of us. At first, we paid no attention to each other, each dwelling on our own issues, our own lives that drifted like the ocean tides. Then when we made eye contact, I noticed that her eyes were green and brilliant and alluring. Gradually, the meeting of eyes became a smile, which became a greeting, which became a conversation.
I learned that her name was Casablanca Lily like the flower, and her younger sister had gotten married before her, causing her to wonder what was wrong with her and why she hadn’t yet met “the one,” and that she would come down to the beach to pray for someone to love her. I told her my sad story, too, but instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we found things to laugh about and talked about the beach and what we imagined lurked beneath the ocean waves.
Morning after morning we’d meet, like our own unarranged beach date, and we’d pick up the conversation right where we’d left off. Finally I got up the courage to kiss her. It was the kind where your lips melt into hers and your heart lifts like a hot air balloon. The kind where you take her cheek in her hand and press harder into her lips and your tongue meets hers like two gentle waves of the sea converging into one. I held her for what seemed like hours and nothing could separate our mouths, our hearts, our converging lives.
The next morning, I jumped out of bed and nearly flew on wings down to the beach with a vivacious expectation of seeing her again, but morning hours stretched on until sunset and there was no Casablanca Lily.
Day after day, I repeated the same routine, until I finally gave up hope of seeing her again. Eventually I had to move on. This is what the ocean whispered in its gentle waves and what the seagulls cried in their morning squawks.
Sadly, I had become the answer to her prayer. I had loved her with the love she had been searching for, but all that was left, all that lingered, was a kiss that I would never forget.