Gemma woke to the sound of her name being whispered.
She heard the silken voice again
and thought that perhaps it was the w i n d
wanting to whisper stories to her in her sleep.
Her eyes flutter open and she sees him kneeling over her.
Caleb says with a smile, helping her up from the mattress.
He gave her a sweater and grabbed the leash for the dog before taking them outside.
“Where are we going?”
Gemma asks, still sleepy.
“For a swim.”
It only took about five minutes before they reached the ocean.
The boardwalk was empty and eerie, the air was hot and thick making the water look inviting with its icy bearing.
Over the water hung a perfectly round moon-
a pale pearl against the black tapestry that was the
s k y ,
looming and mirroring itself on the water’s surface.
The picture becomes blurred when Malcolm, Caleb’s black dog, runs straight into the ocean with child-like delight.
Both Caleb and Gemma smile at the sight and begin to peel apart their cotton layers, exposing their skin to the humid air around them. Left only in their underwear, they walk hand in hand into the water, feeling the warm water invade the empty s p a c e s around them until they are completely submerged in it.
Each wave brought a shivery relief and seemed to excite Malcolm further.
w e i g h t l e s s l y
to allow the water to move her closer to Caleb,
pressing her body against his,
the water linking their forms so that they were suddenly one being.
The whole world was
s t i l l
for a moment save for the water that seemed to flow through them instead of around them,
and Gemma could feel the quiet of the moment rousing something in her.
There was power in stillness that she could understand,
and she let it spread through her veins like a
w i l d f i r e .
She hugged herself against Caleb further, and he kissed her with slippery lips, glistening from the water. She could feel him let go of himself with each new swell of their shared kiss and felt herself begin to do the same.
The world begins to turn again when Malcolm splashes himself against the ocean waves, causing the water to flail itself wildly around Caleb and Gemma so that they broke apart in laughter. Caleb follows Malcolm further into the water and Gemma remains still, watching them fade further into the obsidian sky, white moon hovering heavily, now gathering grey clouds around itself and
spilling moonbeams through them.
Gemma was happy, happier than she’d ever been while she looked at her two best friends play in the water in the impending moonlit haze. Happy enough to realize the medications she was being given were hurting more than helping and stopped them at once.
She could still see Caleb’s bronze skin flicker under the natural glow of the sky.
Yes, she was happy...
Which made it so hard to understand
when she stood there in the water,
listening to the waves pillage the shore and fill her ears with its sweet song-
She still wanted to
d i e .