i’m on a deck, on a dock. and i can pretend that i’m at the coast. the water is under me and the sun is setting. this is good. it’s what i need. a tall glass of water and five dollar slice of chocolate cake. it better be good.
with each boat that passes the waves move underfoot, a doppler effect of sound and emotion that crashes eventually underfoot.
there i am in the corner. the remote part of the deck, removed from the birthday party happening with bursts of festivities, people dancing on tables across the river.
it’s a river not a lake. it’s a lake not the ocean.
it’s cooler here by the water despite the 100 degree temperatures earlier today. the boats are beginning to dock for the night. to “anch” as river says. they come with coolers hoisted on shoulders, they come as the lights begin turning on and the wind blows and all that’s missing are the gulls.
i think to myself i’m not too fond of boats. not these kind anyway. the party boats with bikinis dancing in the sunset. i could do without boats and just sit with the silence, that i’d prefer.
she could smell the beach on me. the salt air. i’d get reprimanded, scolded for breaking the rules bestowed on me in high school. there was no denying the smell of the ocean. it was a lure i couldn’t deny. the beach at night. the power of the wind and total darkness that empowers as it humbles.
i’m running, taking the steps two by two straight up 775 feet above sea level. i can hear them before i round the corner. chanting. praying to christ in the dark with their arms thrown up to the sky. the sun has not yet broken through the clouds.
i walk into it, and past it, around it. their words are not joyful but painstricken. shouting, questioning, begging, pleading. i came here for the sky. for the water. the wind is cool but it doesn’t blow salty. and for that it doesn’t quite feel alive.
…yo creo… en cristo… senor..
i stand on the concrete slab of the picnic table. the blaspheme. their words fall at my feet. i step around them looking up. looking towards exactly what i came for.
i was jarred awake at 4am. the early morning hours of father’s day.
you. you are him. father to a boy. possibly two. i didn’t yet know your house in daylight, or the field that stretched behind it leading onward to the sea. but i knew the salt air and this room where comfort lay next to me. smiling, laughing. “let me kiss your lips” you say as if i willed you to existence. pulling your head towards me, a hand in your hair. you will do things to me, and i want to lick the salt from your skin. to open my mouth and consume you.
i see all of it there, even in darkness. the sailboat, the trust, the field we would lay down in. you are him, dark haired sailor.
it jarred me awake at 4am. the realness of it. the comfort. when i had gone to sleep asking “who are you?”
you are love.
you, this dream, are real.
existing somewhere near the sea.