“No, I would grab your board and come out…”
“And you would save me??”
“Of course.” You smile at yet another one of my unfounded insecurities.
“You know how lucky we are? To be here on this little beach, in this beautiful water? With nobody else around? And it’s free.”
It feels like a slice of paradise. Just the two of us. Sharing with full attention. Being present in this moment.
We start back north before it gets too hot for our skin unaccustomed to the unadulterated sun. Paddling against the current is a workout and I struggle to stay on course, driving my paddle deep, propelling forward against the resistance. We pass beneath the bridge and I see a man and a woman with a yellow labrador in the water.
“I was just swimming with a manatee!” He cries. The look on his face is happy and incredulous.
“It just swam right up to me!”
“Oh, wow, how awesome!” I smile at him as I paddle by.
“Did you hear that, honey?” I call back to you.
“A manatee swam right up to him! Maybe that’s what our turtle was…a manatee! I forgot all about them being out here.”
“Yep, I bet it was.”
We pass a lone paddle boarder texting on his phone before sliding it in the back pocket of his board shorts. It makes me laugh. Is no place sacred?
We end up in the shallows as a speedboat’s wake comes in quick, short waves too close to the shore, battering us into the beach as we run aground together, a low wall of water splashing right into your kayak, soaking your camera case. We drag our vessels through the ankle-deep water the rest of the way, weary but still smiling.
I sit on a beach towel on the edge of the truck seat, sandy feet dangling out of the open door, waiting patiently as you strap the equipment down again.
“What are you thinking about?”
“Nothing. Just daydreaming.”
But, I am thinking about a situation at work. Working on a problem in my mind.
“Yeah, we came out at just the right time. It’s really getting crowded now.” You say, starting the engine. Whole Foods?”
“Yes! Bagels and lettuce and whatever else…”
We drive back, talking about where we will go next Sunday, the new places we will explore together.
“I love to see things I’ve never seen before. Those jellyfish blew my mind. I loved that little mangrove area.”
“So, where are we going next time?” You ask.
You give me a crazy look.
“Okay, we can wait until October when we take vacation…”
We unload and rinse down the equipment. I change clothes while you finish unpacking the truck and putting things away in the garage.
I slice the bagels in half and start heating the demitasse cups, turning on the machine, adding the water, grinding the beans for the espresso. Van Morrison croons at low volume from the living room:
“When it’s not always raining there’ll be days like this
When there’s no one complaining there’ll be days like this
When everything falls into place like the flick of a switch
Well my mama told me there’ll be days like this…”
I arrange our plates and silver on the table, a little bowl of organically grown red grapes in the center. I place my chair next to yours instead of directly across, like I usually do. The bagel halves wait in the toaster until you are ready to join me.
We crunch our bagels and sip our cappuccinos, talking about what a perfect morning it was. How amazing plain sesame bagels are as compared to the everything bagels we usually buy out of habit. How smooth the coffee. Not a hint of bitterness.
I think to myself how companionable we are together. How agreeable. I am thrilled by the simple, mundane purity of it all. And how much I love you. How much you love me.
I am washing up the dishes and you wrap your arms around my waist from behind. You whisper in my ear.
“Later??? I was hoping for sooner!” I giggle, swishing my hands about in the warm suds.
“How about shortly? Shortly, I’m gonna…”
“Yes, you are!”
We take separate showers in separate bathrooms. You tidy the bedroom and turn on my favorite Pandora station while I blow out my hair.
“Thanks for making the bed.” I say as I enter the room.
“Well, it’s kinda made…but it’s gonna get messed up again anyway!” You laugh. I laugh.
I brush my teeth, leaning against the doorway of our bathroom. I’m thinking.
“You know what? I think I cracked the code. I think I figured out why the turnover is so high and the morale is so low at work.”
“I’ll have to double check to make sure, but I believe there are actually no full-time employees. Everyone only gets part-time hours, so they are always hungry for more, always frustrated. The good employees come and do their little stint until they get wise and quit, while the not-so-good, but dependable-to- show- up employees are there to pick up the newly available shifts until a new batch of bodies come in and the cycle repeats. And the company never has to pay out any benefits. Uggghhh! It’s so fucking dehumanizing!! I hate it!”
“That would explain a lot of the apathy you have been observing since you’ve been there. I’ve heard that’s the thing now for corporate businesses. Walmart does it and so does Home Depot.”
You are sitting on the futon by the bed in your underwear. Waiting patiently, as you do.
“I’m sorry. I’m way off topic. I know you have one thing and one thing only on your mind right now.”
“That’s right. Come over here, Sexy Lady…”