Hand in hand, they walked down the beach into the dark. The lights from the hotel and the reggae band fading. He took off his sweater and put it down so she wouldn’t get sand up her skirt. They’d just met each other when she’d walked down onto the sand but she’d known at once that they would be together every day for the rest of her stay. They were having a moment…staring at the ships in the distance, their running lights appearing and disappearing with the movement of the sea.
They didn’t touch each other, not even a lean…she knew it would come but didn’t want to spoil the simple intimacy of the moment. So the two of them sat there, not speaking, the way close friends do when there’s no pressure to fill the silence. “I’d better turn in” she said. He rose silently and offered his hand to help her up and they headed back to the hotel. He kept hold of her hand…she didn’t object.
The next morning she came down early to enjoy a cup of coffee on her own before she met him for breakfast. She explained to the waiter that someone would be joining her but after about an hour he still hadn’t come down and she was getting anxious. Seeing her worry, the hostess came over to have a chat while she waited. She explained that they had only just met on the beach, and well, maybe she’d been naive. The hostess just said “oh my” and hurried off. Well that was strange…
“You’ve got to be kidding me”. The bartender sighed. He’d come over to her when the hostess told him about the stranger on the beach. “I know it’s hard to believe Miss but you’re not back in Michigan…”. She shook her head and headed back to her room but first she stopped at the front desk to inquire about the tall dark haired stranger on holiday by himself.
She spent the day reading and drinking at the lagoon bar hoping to see him, knowing she wouldn’t but wanted to show that lunatic bartender and the idiot hostess that it was all just a misunderstanding. He must be staying at one of the nearby hotels. She just assumed they were in the same place…that had to be it right? But as darkness fell and she could see the band setting up again, she went back to her room to freshen up and put on something pretty.
It was 8:30, right after sunset, she took the last sip of her drink then got up from the bar, slipped off her sandals and walked down onto the beach. “Hi” and there he was just like the night before. She said nothing about where he’d been, she just offered her hand and he took it, leading her down the beach to the same spot. And they sat there again, saying nothing, watching the ships and watching the moon play on the waves. And somehow, the intimacy was greater. She didn’t bother asking him to meet her for breakfast…that was impossible but she went down to the beach the next night and the next and every night for the rest of her stay.
On the last night, as they were holding hands heading back to her hotel she told him she was going home in the morning and tears started to roll down her face. He wiped away a tear… “It’ll be okay. You have what you need now”. Then he walked away and disappeared into the darkness down the beach.