The first time we met I was fifteen and she was trying to hear the ocean through a sea-shell she'd stolen from my neighbour's garden.
Looking back, I think I already knew. Even then, I think I realised what she'd been trying to hide for a long time.
She didn't belong here.
It was the start of an infatuation.
The waves of the ocean just continually role up to the shore and lap at the sand, slowly climbing higher and higher, and then gradually disappearing as the tide goes out.
What would it feel like to slip into that beautiful blue water and feel myself be washed away?
I would walk out to the point where I could no longer touch the bottom, even on my tippy toes, and then I would stretch out my arms and the clouds would come together in a dramatic, romantic climax as I let myself simply fall into the water and begin to float away out to sea.
You would have realised that I was missing and come to find me, and you would have arrived just in time to see me succumb to the call of the sea. You would dive in after me and try to stop me, your one true love, from disappearing forever. I would see you coming for me, and reach out to you, but the ocean would put up a fight for me and try to drown out our cries with the sound of the waves crashing against the shore.
You wouldn't give up though, and just when I was about to lose all willpower you would reach me and wrap your strong arms around me and together we would swim back to shore, where we would collapse on the sand and you would confess to me that you were so scared to lose me, because you love me. I would be too overcome with joy to reply, and so I would just press my lips to yours and we would continue to kiss long into the night, with the waves lapping forlornly at our feet.
Things they don't know about her:
She smiles whenever she smells cinnamon.
If she had a choice she would never ever wear shoes, anywhere.
She never ever breaks a promise.
Sometimes she forgets that everything's alright now and slips back into her old ways.
Pumpkin makes her scrunch up her nose.
She collects useless pretty things and stores them in secret compartments in her room.
Algebra confuses her unlike anything else.
She always smells like summer; like salt and sand and sunlight and strawberries.
There's this one spot on her neck, where just one touch will make her blush.
She presses the heels of her palms into her eyes when the pleasure becomes too much.
When the waves of the ocean wash over her feet, when her body disappears under the surface – that's when she's home.
That's when she's happy.
It's raining, and raining, and raining.
The rain fell on my roof last night, pitter-pattering like tiny little footsteps.
It's still raining now.
I imagine it raining for so long that there's a flood. There's a flood, and I'm swimming in the water with the rain drops still splashing all around me and making pretty ripples on the surface. I'm drowning.
There's not enough rain for a flood, though. Just enough to splash onto the ground and create big slippery puddles for me to trip in. I don't like it.
But I do like the way you wrap your arms around me when I shiver, how you kiss my ears to warm them up, the way you rub my hands in yours.
Your skin is always so warm.
She looks so gorgeous in red.
With her luminescent skin, her long dark hair.
With those delicate hands, those slender legs...
She thinks that the patterns are pretty.
She likes watching the red run down her skin.
I almost don't have the heart to tell her -
It's anything but beautiful.
I can feel the tears before they actually begin to fall.
There's a burning sensation in the back of my throat, a build up that stops any sounds from coming out and forces me to gasp for breath. My legs turn to lead, my stomach churns uncomfortably, and I can feel the moisture in the rims of my eyes. My heart gets heavier, everything seems to slow down and yet speed up all at the same time.
I try to pretend that I'm alright, that everything's fine, that I'm not actually drowning inside.
But you always see through that.
You look at me with sad eyes and you wrap first one arm around me and then the other, so that I'm enveloped in your embrace. And suddenly I can't hold the tears in anymore and I'm crying and crying and crying and there's going to be a big mess on your shoulder, but you don't even care.
You hold me until I'm done crying, and once it's all over I have room to be myself again.
It's tempting, sometimes.
To go back to how things used to be – to take the easy way out.
But whenever I consider having a drink (just one drink, one doesn't count)
I picture her face, and the disappointment in her eyes.
I don't ever want to disappoint her.
But it's hard not to, sometimes.
Let's just forget for a bit
That we're broken
Like those bottles you tried to hide
Forget that we're bruised
Like the pale skin of my thigh
That I don't really try to hide
We'll sit on her bed and talk, for a long time.
She'll tell me all about the latest things she's added to her collection, but she won't tell me where they are. If I ask she'll just give me this coy little smile, with her lips together, and shake her head at me. She likes her little secrets.
As we talk I'll trace my fingers up and down her inner thigh, a light, teasing stroke over the red marks she's made. We'll leave it at that, for a little while. And then the sentences will become phrases, the phrases will become single words, the words will become sounds.
We'll intertwine and I'll take things faster then.
She'll press the heels of her palms into her eyes.
I dreamt about you last night.
I dreamt that you crawled into bed with me while I slept, and snuggled right up close to me, draping your arm over my waist and clasping my cold hand in your warm one. You nuzzled your face into my neck and I felt you breathe in deeply, and then breathe out contently. You kissed my neck and my cheek and then lay your head down on the pillow behind mine and I just listened to you breathing softly, in and out, in and out.
When I began to wake up I could almost feel your arm still around me, and I tried to cling onto the fragments of the dream that hung around me still, until consciousness gripped me and I was forced to remember that I'd slept alone – just as I do every night.
I hope that I dream about you again tonight.
She dreams about strange things, most of the time.
I can see it when she sleeps – in her expression, the way her forehead creases, the soft whimpering noises she makes.
When she wakes up and I ask her how she slept she always says "good".
I wonder if she even remembers what she dreamt about, or if her mind deliberately forgets.
The view from my bedroom is simply amazing, I state. You agree with me, and we decide to climb through the window to get a closer look at the sparkling night sky.
We perch atop my roof and you weave your fingers through mine, to steady me from falling. My heart is racing and I can't tell whether it's from the height or our closeness, but really I don't mind.
We stay out there for hours, hiding from the world, and we are happy.
You pull me against your side, your hand sitting just a little too low on my hip, and I tilt my chin up towards your face, and you stare into my eyes as you come closer, and closer and closer…
And then you move your arm and let me go, and I slide down the tiles.
You stare after me with wide, innocent eyes as I fall off the edge of the roof and down, down, down.
Nothing stops my fall this time. You don't catch me.
I wake up with a jolt, back in my own bed and already crying.
There are times when I can clearly see how much she's improved, how she is making progress, no matter how slowly.
And then there are other times when I don't see much of a difference at all and all I can think is, 'You're supposed to be better by now.'
I've never wanted to protect anyone like this before.
You have this light about you that just radiates from your inside out.
I wanted to feel so free and divine that I could find beauty in everything, like you did. I wanted to forget for a bit about everything that made me sad, everything that made me who I am. I wanted to break the surface, to live in the same world as everyone else for once. I wanted to be so overcome with joy that I couldn't hold back the hallelujah spilling from my lips.
When I'm with you your light shines on me.
She's so delicate.
Light as a feather when she jumps into my arms, wrapping her legs around me so that my face is in her neck and all I can smell and see and feel is her.
And there's this fragility in her eyes, in the washed out irises; I can see her past there, always lingering at the back of her mind, just out of my reach.
They used to think that you could sail straight off the edge of the Earth.
I look out at the horizon, at the shimmering line where the sea meets the sky, and I can't really blame them.
I am a beautiful mermaid, with a shiny tail that gently kicks and propels me through the water, carrying me along with the powerful tides. I swim through the oceans, with fish swimming all around me and colourful reefs adorning the sand. I swim with the dolphins and am wild, a pretty little part of nature that no one can capture. I am free and I am happy.
I am so tempted to just swim right off the edge.
She ran away.
I knew where she'd run to, of course, so I ran after her.
I found her on the rocks, in her black dress. Watching the waves of the ocean come rolling in.
I could almost hear them calling to her – "Come home," they said, "Come home."
She didn't hear me coming up behind her, so she didn't have time to react when I grabbed her and carried her to the soft sand.
Neither of us said anything, at first.
"Don't," I finally said.
She knew what I meant.
Don't run away, don't leave me, don't ever scare me like that again, don't you understand how much I need you?
"I promise," she said.
I fell asleep cradling her against me.
And it takes your breath away to wake up with the one you love most in your arms and the sea breeze blowing against your face.
You're so mysterious.
So dangerous and sexy and the clichéd bad-boy.
But you're not, really.
You're funny and sweet and kind.
And you really do care.
I can't explain you.
I just love you.
a.n. so this is the story i plan to frame my studio art photography book around. the text and photos will share the pages. if it seems familiar, it's because i've taken parts from previous stories and incorporated them in. i'm not sure if i want to leave the last stanza/chapter/prose in... please let me know what you think?