We had been coming here at Kay's beach house ever since we were in college. Every spring. Every year. All of us would be here. Significant others changed through the years but we remained. The five of us. After college, I would see all of them during the year except perhaps Sam. We saw less and less of each other with each passing year. And then just only at the beach house. One year he showed up wearing a bow tie. Looked like a compete idiot. Not many men can pull off bow ties, some shouldn't even try. Another year he was supporting a full bushy beard. His brownish-blond beard. Very unruly and unkempt. I wanted to run my fingers through it. I stopped myself from doing that.
While so many things changed, some things remained constant. Every year on the third night, I'll come out of the beach house around 2 a.m. when everyone else is asleep. I;d walk up to the shore and find him sitting there among the rocks, smoking. We never talked about it, never planned to meet, but it always happened that way. He kept coming back to the beach in the middle of the night, so did I. Perhaps to just remind ourselves of the life we once inhaled among the rocks, when the roaring inside us, the thrashing life, could easily drown the roaring of the ocean. Now there was just silence, except the mockery of the waves.
I sat next to him. He looked at me like he always did, with longing for something you've once had and then lost. He touched my bare feet with his hands. I let him. His hands were warm. My feet were cold. I could see him through the dark. His eyes were always bright bringing me to life. He touched my head. I closed my eyes. I didn't need to see him after that, I knew I wouldn't be able to feel him much longer.
For a moment, it felt exactly how it used to feel when we were in college - all reckless and thinking that life was full of possibilities. Now we were old. We had learned to live with the voids in our hearts. We weren't even sad anymore. Now we are mature enough, and scarred enough to know when to surrender our happiness.
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