Okay, this one was a little harder. Especially since one of the other writers had stumbled upon the same initial thought I had. I think he did it better than I would have and bravo to him. Again the rules and the challenge are here on Miranda Kate’s blog.
Come. Join us! Share your words, your wit, your sadness, your joy. We love the company.
by Stacy Bennett
The island was my hail Mary.
Ian was slipping away; I could feel it. The doldrums of everyday life stole the wind from our sails until we drifted in a mundane sea. What I needed… no, what we needed was a way to stop time. A chance to find our way back to the fire we had started with. And what better recipe than the moon, the sea and solitude?
It would work. It had to.
In the beginning, I was sure I had saved us. Without the Wall Street hustle, he unwound and that sexy smile returned. And I was glad to be away from the heart wrenching stories and interventions my job required.
We laid naked in bed until noon. We sunned and swam and lingered over dinner and nightly champagne. We danced and laughed until the rosy hue of life returned to our cheeks. I woke happy, nestled close in his arms.
But vacations end. I could tell when he started to think about returning, bracing himself for the inevitable 80 hour weeks and the arguments. But it didn’t have to be that way. Couldn’t we bottle that glow?
The last night came all too soon. He murmured how we needed to talk, the seriousness in his eyes sending my heart pounding. I remember thinking this could be great or… and I refused to think about it further. But he grew quiet at dinner, only sipping at his drink.
Finally, we took a stroll along the beach, walking until the sand turned to rounded stones of deep-sea blue, their smoothness still warm from the day’s sunshine. The surf played tag with our feet as the sun lowered like the final spotlight on a Broadway show. I felt all too keenly the emptiness that was coming. It would soon be time to return to that world, to our two worlds.
The feather stood at attention, sticking up from the rounded stones like an abandoned flag. Like a forlorn last good bye. I stood over it and looked out to the sea, imagining for a split second what it might be like to take that final defeated walk into the waves and never look back.
He looked down at the feather too, but in a curious distanced way. He was already halfway back to civilization. I longed to keep him with me in paradise just a little longer, so I said, “This feather belonged to a bird with beautiful plumage like jewels in the sun. He loved to sail over the water, tracing lines with his wingtips. One day he saw a flash of iridescent shimmer in the deep and thought it was his reflection. Then a fish with wings for fins leapt out to join him. Sailing, flying, swimming, they played side by side for a long while. They were the same, inside where it mattered. The fish knew if she loved him enough, she could break the bonds of the sea …”
He leaned in to silence me with a kiss. I wasn’t sure what it meant but my mind skittered to how his hands stroked my skin in the dark, how I needed his warmth beside me, and how he needed me, too. I could be that fish and stay by his side no matter the cost.
But his smile was indulgent as if directed at a child. Then he picked up the feather, twirling it in his long fingers, showing off the iridescent blueness of it.
“A bird may love a fish, my sweet,” he said. “but where would they live?”
His soft words battered my fragile hope. “Wherever they chose,” I whispered.
“So, will the bird forego the sky? Or will the fish forsake the current?”
He stared at me, willing me to understand. “And who would be the one to choose?”
“I want to fly,” I said.
“And I want you exactly as you are,” he said and kissed me again. Then, he handed me the feather. “This vacation was a gift I will never forget, Megan. But I booked a flight that leaves tonight.”
He kissed me again on the lips and then once on each cheek. “And I’ll be flying alone.”
Photo taken by Sirombo (Luca) from Italy over on Deviant Art.