Thirty Four

We don’t hold hands when we walk.
Instead, we keep distance enough to let a person slide shoulder-first between us.

The sea is our home: the sand cold under our feet, and bubbles of froth, finding out our fleeing toes.

You clumsily clamp your curls, gather your skirt and land headily in the heart of the shore – where water teases sand. Where fine pebbles cling in a losing battle.

I see you conspire with the water. I know you know I watch you, with your knees drawn, writing secrets to the sea. You smile innocently as the sea washes your hurried cursive away.

Lips sealed.

We walk along the high tide, decoding silences. Tracing moonbeams, far-off bobbing ships; waves that curl inward, inch by inch, crash by crash, till they forget.

I push you, in a moment of anger.
Genuine hurt flickers.

I glimpse the remains of your secret.
My name.

Thirty Three

We sat on the cool stone steps, waiting. It looked like rain.
Actually, it was too dark to tell.

This was his third successive night up.

A flicker briefly yellowed his features. Then, a unit of orange waxed and waned as he fancied.

You’re right, he said.
I’ve fallen out of the habit of love.

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