Walking along the edge of the ocean, it almost felt like a memory,
didn’t it? Every footstep squeezing out the water from a palm’s
worth of sand. If I went any closer, it would have washed me
away. That I’m sure of. Ah, ah, someone was kissing in the water.
Someone was making love in the water. Ah, ah, the salt in my
eyes. I threw the empty shell of a dead crab ten feet away from me
and everyone turned to look. Not at the crab. At me. All eyes
narrowed and filled with seawater. Ah, ah, the moans still rising
from the surf. I could feel it. The bleeding. Feel it in a way easy
enough to blot out for a moment, everything having just happened.
Myself having just figured out what, exactly, everything meant.
Why the eyes always strayed across my surface too long. A
searchlight. I picked up a half-open mussel and tossed it into the
riptide. Woosh, away it went. Someone was being made love to
and it wasn’t me. I wanted it to be me. The ocean reached out and
licked my blood from the ground. Pulled it out further, streaked it
like a carpet before me. There was a hole in me. Soon the pain
would come. And so I lay in wait, muscles always braced for that
first moment of burning, the sand rolling and rubbing the scabby
plateau of my sickly sores. Was it vomit or insides on that ground?
If someone on that beach had asked me anything, I would have
answered, I have never been in love. And I would have tried to look
into their eyes just so they might feel the urge to look into mine. But
the only word said was a single note of silence pouring from the heat
of their gazes. I wanted no pity. Wanted someone to kiss me. So I
picked up the broken shell of a clam, white and purple. I threw it in.