She let her dress slip so it hung off of her shoulder,
turned around, but then glanced back at me.
Her laugh danced like bells on the air.
I knew because I heard it earlier at the restaurant,
but I could not hear it now.
There was an ear-splitting, glass-shattering shaking and drilling which instilled tremors
in the ground we were standing on,
and tremors in my heart.
All I saw and felt and heard, however, was her, and her laugh, and
I mistook those tremors for a feeling called loved
which is a mistake I believe
so many people make and have made throughout time and history.
And I believe that this mistake can be held accountable
for many tragic events – take it from the Greeks.
I’m sure it wasn’t only them, it just took their obvious error to embarrass
politicians and presidents to better hide their own.
Walking behind her,
I slid both my hands down the back of her neck,
sweeping them over her shoulders and, carrying the dress with them,
down her arms.
Her skin was not too pale. There were few freckles, but not enough to say she was freckled.
She was simply imperfect, and average, and in that moment,
she was mine.
My own shirt came tumbling off and in that second,
she pushed me.
What some may say as falling hard –
and fell deep, into the water.
And this I also mistook for love.
Because in the presence of desire, everything seems like love:
the air you breathe,
and what you fall into,
and the tremors you feel in your breast.
And the nervousness and fear of looking like a fool
you mistake for butterflies,
and the fear of being rejected
you feel as fear of losing your beloved.
And none of it is real and none can be trusted
because if it all disappeared in that moment, you would live on,
your heart whole, even if cracked by disappointment of expectation.
She dived into the water beside me. Her hand
gently tugging my pants off in the water
before she came up for air.
I had no fear of drowning as she swam into my arms and our combined weight and my
lack of swimming ability and strength caused us to sink further down.
It felt like I was falling further in love.
Some one, or two, people walking by shouted at us judgingly (and jealously it seemed to me), “Get a room!” and a little boy asked his mother, “Why are those people not trying to get out of the water?”
But we couldn’t hear them over the tremor in the sky,
like it was tearing apart and the world was ending, and
staring into each other’s eyes and lusting after each other’s bodies,
there was only us in the moment.
And her hand running over my body mixed with the watery sensation
and my legs kicking, struggling to stay afloat, caused me to cry out her name,
which I was really whispering,
but I swallowed some water and began to choke,
and I thought my coughing was actually cries of passion
because when you are in love, everything feels like something good. And as I
sank a little deeper, I fell for her a little harder, and my heart grew in size
to accommodate the amount of love I felt in my bosom.
Twenty minutes later, it was only she who emerged from the water.
Her dress was draped elegantly over the railing where she left it.
It fell over her shoulders like silk and didn’t hang or cling to one inch of her completely and suddenly dry body.
And she flung her lengthy locks over one shoulder, and they fell long and perfectly down her back.
And if her shoulder blades could feel love, they would have fallen for and with the hair
— as I had.
And where was I? I had sunk so deeply into the wondrous passion,
and felt so much amour for my dear
that I knew the water in my lungs, filling up the space made for oxygen,
was only her taking my breath away with her beauty and radiance.
And I knew the light disappearing from my eyes
was only so that I could experience her body and all passion
with my other senses so fully.
And I knew the rocky sand beneath my feet was our bed
and that panicky feeling – like drowning – I knew it was butterflies,
it was love.
I gave it all up for love,
and it was worth it.
If anyone tells you their feelings were a mistake, they were not in love.
They did not feel it all.
And how can I not believe that she did not feel the same? I know she did.
She walked home alone that night,
with a curious smile on her lips, one that said
she had another successful seduction,
one that asked,
And the earth shook, and the stars fell out of the sky,
and she seduced the moon from its place in orbit.
The tide turned, my body washed on the shore, and I died
of heart break as I watched her traitorous arms wrap around the man in the moon.
The city streets flooded and the ocean’s emptied,
and somehow everyone stayed asleep.
And I was dead,
my heart in pieces.