I wrote this immediately following a long run with my housemate. One part John L. Parker Jr. and one part cringey high school poetry, this piece was a fun attempt at capturing a moment of deep reminiscence.
Two figures glided along a beach-side path. Except for some scattered palm fronds loosed by the afternoon’s strong winds, the usually busy promenade was unusually and refreshingly empty, likely from the unusually and refreshingly wet weather. The pair did not speak. All that could be heard was quiet huffing and the rhythm of foot falls on puddled pavement–splashes now in sync, now staggered.
Despite the cold they wore very little, judging by the occasional bundled-up walkers they ran past. Each had on a long sleeve shirt, while a pair of running shorts suggested a covering over their lower halves, exposing legs that had been hardened by thousands of hours and many more thousands of miles of toil.
The shorter of the two was all quiet focus, and his eyes stayed fixed out in the middle-distance along the path. The other was normally chatty and the silence made him restless. His attention wandered. Glancing up at the moon, bright and nearly full, he settled into a reverie. He recalled two nights before when he had stared at that same moon amid a series of moments that now seemed to him cruelly fleeting and yet slow-motion significant.
This was, of course, because of a girl.
In a wide and amply landscaped backyard he and this girl had exchanged little jokes and corny tenderness. Three days might as well have been as many years, and while they were still giddy, any nervousness in each other’s company had been replaced by a natural and easy affection. His mind had become blissfully calm then, almost empty. Perhaps only minutes before there had been a crowd of thoughts, but there were now mostly images and feelings. Narrative and deliberation–heck, reason–an entire cognitive province of hard logical edges and assured if-thens gave way to pure sensory beholding. The edges melted into soft and rounded contours. He met two eyes and a smile that could convey more meaning in a glance than a multi-volume treatise.
He followed her as she walked about the garden, their bodies still dripping from the heated pool and steaming in the January air. He stared at her and her wild curls that were tamed for a time, though he was certain that if he had buried his face in them he would have somehow found no smell of chlorine. She pointed at this tree and that tree and told which fruits they bore, and occasionally she passed him a slice of orange from one freshly picked. He smiled, as the early verses of Genesis began to make a visceral kind of sense to him.
Under a gibbous-lit sky, his fascination with this girl waxed to fullness.
She was light.
She was joy.
She was wit.
She was home.
She was heat.
She was thrill, sweetness, beauty, but most importantly, she was his. Full-hearted and foolhardy it was in this moment he decided he loved her.
The moon has started to wane.
A lone runner plods along an empty walkway, this time scattered with snow.
Feet crick-crunch on gravel, as breath comes in, and breath goes out.