Said One To The Other

Night. The ocean; the moon falling across it, a silver splatter across rippling black. Moon, but no stars. He can’t see one, against the velvet purple-black. He loves this part of town, with its houses old and sprawling and double brick; he lives in an estate, and he loves houses built before 1997. None of those, there. His fingers trace the scars on the wooden rails beneath him, and he imagines he could just vault over them, onto the dunes, and just take off into the black.

Cold. The wind brings with it the smell of salt, the slight tickle of oceanspray. His knuckles are as white as the wood they’re clinging to, and his cheeks are red. His hood is up, but his jacket is open, and his sleeves rolled up; he’s vain, and he likes his forearms. He’s afraid of cameras, and he doesn’t like the sun; he’s at home, here, at the beach, with houses built before 1997, and cold sea breeze against his skin.

“How,” her voice says, in his ear, “does it feel?”
How does it feel, said one to the other. He blinks, because the beach at night when it’s cold should be a place that’s just his. “It feels… old.”
Houses built before 1997. Not home, but homely.
“It feels right.” He says.
“Does it?”
He stops. Does it?

This is where ocean meets town, where one reaches its limit, and the other does too; this is the beach, and it’s empty and it’s cold. Like him, he thinks, before any of this. How does it feel? Well, he thinks, it feels right. Does it? Well, he thinks, I guess. What does that mean? Well, he thinks, I don’t know. How can I know? How can I know anything? Houses built before 1997; he sees the art deco house from the twenties, on the corner, and he thinks about home, and how it’s long, long gone and far, far, far away.

“Was there ever anything?”
“Sorry?”
“Between us?”
“Oh.” No.
“Oh. Okay.”
“I’m…”
“No, you’re not.”
“No. I’m not.”

Of course that was how it was going to end. This is the lies; his jacket falls on the pavement. This is the happiness; he jumps over the railing. He kicks his shoes off. This is the end; his t-shirt lies on the sand. Then his jeans. This is the end; of everything, but then there was never anything, so it’s the end of nothing. Love, love, love, echoes of words spoken too soon and signifying nothing but everything and still…

The wind plays across his skin, and he’s wearing just about nothing. The water is getting closer, silver-dappled dark. It’s calling, because that’s what it does. Inky night beneath the moon.

The water meets the sand, the waves are small, just ripples, really. He wades in, and then he dives. It’s cold. Of course it is.
How does it feel, said one to the other.
“Feels… good,” the other said back.

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