It’s late at night. A car squeals somewhere off in the distance like a woman crying out. I wake up, look out at the lights of the city, and I feel at home enough to go back to sleep.
The next day we go to the beach. I sit in the sand and read a torn and dog-eared paperback novel while you smoke joints you rolled at our kitchen table. The waves are a perfect soundtrack to watch your movements to, as you open my lighter, ignite the end of the joint, and take an inhale that makes me jealous of your lungs. I smile and turn back to my book, trying to lose myself in the prose, as the soft smoke from your exhale brushes past my shoulders like morning fog.
When you’re stoned and I’ve had a cider and a few cigarettes, you look at me and I forget all about the broken bottles that circle the towel that we lay on. You look at me and I forget about the cold August breeze rolling in off the surf. I move to kiss you, but you stop me, and warn me about, “piling too much into perfect moments.”
I tell you that I don’t have enough perfect moments, so I try and make use of the ones that come my way.
The next day we go to the beach. The sand is too hot on my bare feet, so I tiptoe across it till I find the safe haven of a piece of driftwood. I perch on this piece of wood and flip through the decayed pages of a Russian novel I had stuffed into my back pocket, till you bring me a flask full of white rum and run your sandy fingers through my hair. We collect beach glass for my mother, colorful rocks for yours. I put my spent cigarettes into an empty bottle of the antidepressants I used to take.
Later, I wade out into the surf. Ocean water was always too cold for me to endure, but the sting of it is soothing on scorched feet. I let the cold water run around my ankles and let the ocean leave its lasting, numbing impact.
I have forgotten my bad memories, and now live in a state of happiness that moves locales from beach perches, to late night gazes out the window, to your second hand pot smoke, to that look in your eyes when we are both truly happy and together.
My own ocean of happy thoughts: vast and endless, dotted with islands of perfect moments, and not nearly as cold.