Grains and Strands
I’ve been working on a project that is part fairy tale, part romance, and part bedtime story. I keep getting stuck pondering that moment when my heroines finally kiss. So, when inspiration seemed to be ticking this evening I decided to write a kiss…but that sort of romantic, all consuming, devouring kiss that can sometimes distract you from all else. So… this is what emerged.
Grains of sand cling to my feet, my calves, my hands. My skin in rosy and sun-licked, sea salt and perspiration dotted, lips chapped from a day spent in and on and near the waves. I dig my toes into the beach, past the hot into the ocean cool beneath and drape my arms over my knees. The sun is sliding closer and closer to the horizon, its golden path painting an arrow at me. Soon it will paint the sky, the clouds, the waves and me in a riot of colors.
The breeze off the water twists my hair behind me, lifting it from my neck, like the touch of a lover, and my mind is taken off and somewhere else. On my porch, cupping Alice’s face, her fingers sliding up my nape, sinking into one last kiss before she’s off on sabbatical. One last kiss less than 24 hours after our first kiss and so much passion yet to be explored.
Leaning against my car behind the shop, Lisa pressed to me, face tilted to mine, lost to one kiss after another until a car door slams nearby jerking us apart. So much like the first time, every time, this the last time when we will indulge in a hunger that carries us too far, too fast and must stop.
In my bed, limbs tangled, sleep warmed and drowsy. Vera’s hands fitting to my waist pulling me to her for a slow, sensual, comfortable, indulgent kiss, one that lends itself to lingering, pleasuring, snoozing.
A hand slides across my shoulders, pulling me from my daydreams. “Hi.” She sinks to the sand and pushes her feet into the sand beside mine. Her shoulder presses to mine and my breath catches when she glances at me. There’s a kiss here, too, waiting in a day-long held breath. In each lingering touch, each slide of fingers together. Is it sun or a blush that adds extra expression to her cheeks?
“Hey,” is my insignificant answer and her smile deepens as she traces a line up my neck and her fingers thread into my hair, tangling in the sandy, salty strands. She’s been doing that all day and I suddenly want both hands there. I’m caught in her eyes and the rush of colors from the sunset reflects there, but I can’t make myself turn to look. “I really want to kiss you.”
It’s her turn to catch her breath and her smile shifts into something…warmer, softer, braver. “I think you’ve said that before,” she answers, our inside joke, and her free hand comes to rest on my sandy knee. Her thumb makes small circles and it’s an almost audible sensation as grains of sand are caught between my flesh and the whorls of her thumbprint. Round and round they go and my gaze starts to drift from her eyes to her lips and back. We teeter on the cusp we’ve rocked upon all day, and days and weeks before, balanced upon the fulcrum of intent. Who, I think we both wonder, will lean in first?
A brilliance paints the sky, reflected in her eyes, and she leans close enough to nudge my cheek with hers. “You’re missing the show,” she whispers and her grin wrinkles her nose. She leans her head against mine, oh so close, and turns to look out over the water. There’s a thread of laughter in my exhale when I relax into her and turn my gaze to the sunset. A small part of my brain thinks about my cameras up in the car, my phone in my beach bag, but I won’t even think about stirring from this spot, where she leans against my shoulder and her thumb still traces little sand scoured circles into the tender skin above my knee.
I am tethered, we are tethered in this moment. The spire of sunlight that radiates up and paints the world in reds and oranges as it sinks from sight draws low sounds from both of us. We are caught together, present and buoyed on the tenuousness of simply being. Up and down the beach people rise, gather blankets and towels and umbrellas and head inland, overlapping conversations drifting into the sussurus of waves breaking on the shore.
And… the moment is here, stretching between us. The air is cooling and a tremor traces her spine. “Want to head in?” I ask and she shakes her head against mine.
“Not yet,” she answers and that note that always stretches me piano string taut is in her voice. “I would rather…,” her words drift off and I roll my head against hers and we’re so close we’re sharing breaths.
“You’d rather…” I echo and again I’m caught in her gaze and everything else is lost. Just lost. I reach to touch her cheek and leave a trail of sand to catch the last bits of light, tiny shiny motes of the day. It’s a trapped moment hanging between us, one kiss waiting to break loose thunderstorm intense and consuming.
Her eyes drift closed, open, and drop to my lips. Our noses brush and draw apart and I can’t hold in the gasp when the fingers in my hair tighten and the other rises to join in. My fingers slide along her jaw to sink into her long hair and for a moment we’re gripping each other, a breath apart, eyes caught in the dimming light of dusk. It is the slowest, most excruciating first kiss. The first brush of contact sends a ripple through my body and her fingers tighten until I gasp. Her grip on my hair sends sparks across my scalp and I can’t help the small, helpless sound that rises.
I don’t know who surrenders first. Maybe the ocean-born wind pushed us together, tired of watching the endless, relentlessly careful dance. Maybe the wave-sculpted sand shifted minutely to tip us together. All I know is her lips are soft and full and she tastes of salt and caramel and she’s kissing me back and her teeth catch my lip and I moan.
There’s no moving from this moment. We are suspended outside of time as our long awaited kiss captures us. Waves crash, one after another after another. The sun is so far below the horizon the stars start to speckle the sky and the crescent moon hangs over our shoulders, already descending. We will never forget that explosion of color, the roll of the surf, but more than anything I will never forget the rough sandy circles on my thigh just before her mouth consumes mine.