Do you see that too? The hammock and the bench laid out so that your whispers reach my heart. The moonlight faint, the distant sea hushed. The white sands are cool under bare toes. Playful too, slipping through as if they can never be caught. When you look, they are right there, clinging as if they will never let go.
You know they will follow you for days, months. One day, back home, months later you will open your suitcase and they will still be there.. mocking you, calling you to themselves again. They will be grey, disarranged – out of place in your sunny home. Calling plaintively, take us home. Come, come and be one again. As we are. Each one of them, grey, gritty, carrying the memory of silver.
Silver was the colour of the night. Glancing gently off planes, it was the curves that it serenaded. Blushing and twinkling in turn, the leaves waved us on. The occasional white fragranced flower shining unabashedly back at the stars, lighting our path down to the beach. Strange crisp seaweeds plunged deep through the soft flesh of our feet as we walked on unheeding. The sea rushed on towards us curiously, then pulled back, remembering its manners just in time. Unable to resist what we could not either, she came dashing forth again. We had no eyes for her, and she receded, rejected. Murmuring, like an old gossip, she carried the tale with her to other lands. We had eyes for none, but this one.
The fronds in the palms high above us were no shelter but we sought none. The stars twinkled their approval, as the wind nudged the leaves to nod their consent. We needed none. Their beauty was one with the shimmering sands but we were beyond sight or seeing. Barely conscious of the shifting shadows as the moon marked her watch, we told our stories through the night. Each story leading to another, slower and deeper they went. Some stories would carry meaning in the world that came alive with the sun, others were only meant for the denizens of the moonlight. Scurrying, as if startled at being seen – was that a night animal, or just another tale?
Did we question the stories that night? How could we? We were absorbed in the sound..the cadences were the only semblance of meaning we sought. As the pile of stories grew tall, and toppled, we paused to look at the shifting shapes around us. The sea had stilled its curiosity – it had seen myriad tales of lovers and carried them adrift, bringing others home safe on its waves. Her immensity gave her permission to carry us away, as if we could escape the grey sands turned silver that night.
Clinging on to the pale shadows, hiding in the dark that would soon be light, we let our words have their way with each other. Did they know that tomorrow was almost here as they played with gay abandon? Wasting moments in silly games when so much more could have been said, so many journeys could have been started. Journeys that still might be, but not tonight. The shadows were scared away by the chirping of the birds heralding dawn. The spell was broken even before light did. As must many have before us, we tore ourselves away from the place that could have been our forever.
As our footsteps moved in tandem, away from the stories we had woven, the warmth seemed to hover for a moment. Shimmering gently over that hammock strung between the tall palm trees and the perfect bench placed next to it, the moment held itself together for a bit longer. And then, with a deep sigh echoed by the rising tide of the sea, it broke itself up into little bits, allowing itself to be carried away by the receding waves. The sea finally got its stories, rising gently in pride. The hammock and the bench, bereft of their halo waited for the harsh light of day to expose them pitilessly. For the moment was gone, as were the beloved. Carrying the grit that would never let them be anything but what they were tonight.