Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves”
― Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate
As we set up our chairs on the beach, I hear the roar of the Atlantic at our backs. It’s full dark, the end of the summer season, and there’s a chill in the air. We decide to take advantage of the crisp, and brisk night and have friends over. You and the guys build a blazing fire on our little section of beach. We women sit and drink sweet red wine. Watching you interact with the guys makes me smile. You’re so confident in your fire making skills. You laugh easily. I love to see your easy smile light up your entire face.
We’ve known some of these people for years. Others, we met at the beginning of the summer. There’s wine and conversation. So much laughter. We sit in our short beach chairs around the fire. The flames are high and twist in the gentle breeze caused by the surf. Their colors are copper, crimson and sapphire. The wood is dry and cracks at the intensity of the heat. I lean up against your chest. You hold me close and I’ve never felt more free. More happy. More alive.
I contribute to the conversation. Say something sarcastic and snarky, because it’s what I do. I hear you laugh and it’s music to my ears. I sit up and grab a bottle of wine. I drink right from it, and hand it to you. You take a long pull on the bottle and pass it back to me. I bury it half way in the sand next to me, so it won’t tip over. I tell it to sit and stay, like it’s a dog. You and our friends laugh.
As the conversation continues, you put your hands in mine. I look down at them and notice that they are like mine. Soft, yet strong. Yours are strong enough to hold a girl that likes to run, but needs a home. A safe place to land. You’ve given me all of that. I’ve given you unconditional love. Something you’ve longed for, but never found. You’ve always loved too hard and gotten hurt. Until me. Until you. Until us, we merely existed. Now we live. For each other. For this, simple little life. On a beach. On the Atlantic.
You ease your grip and I caress your palms with my fingertips. I look into your eyes, and see the blazing fire reflected in them. Along with every emotion you feel for me. I smile at you and my pulse quickens. My body reacts with want, and I blush. You always make me blush. Still. Our friends stop and look at us. Some smile, while others are wistful. There we are on the beach with our friends around a campfire and we’re holding hands. But we’re doing more than that. Our love emanates and flows to those around us. Then I laugh my silly horse laugh and the spell is broken.
I turn to our circle of friends and say something with the word fuck in it, and everyone laughs uproariously. We unclasp our hands, I turn around and settle back into your chest. You put your arms around me, kiss the top of my head and whisper that you love me. I feel the warmth of flames on the front of my body, and the warmth of your inner flame in my back. I lean my head up, kiss your chin and whisper that I love you. Then I say your name. It slips easily from my lips, like a prayer. Like a promise. You were always my prayer, and my promise.