What she really wanted was to talk with Gabe. She needed to understand their separation through high school and college, to know why they were driven so hard, to look into his eyes and see again what she had first seen when they were seventeen. She felt she would be forever stuck if she could not know these things and know them now.
She stood up then, resolved. With a certainty she hadn’t felt since she was five, she recognized what mattered to her. She felt her own humanity as it had been given to her when she was born, not as a theoretical set of activities she’d developed along the way. She saw her approach to adult life up until now as a contrivance, one taking all her energy to maintain, her boulder to force uphill again and again, her disappointment in her progress predictable and repetitive as the boulder inevitably rolled back down. She was done carrying that boulder.
She stared out at the sea and yelled at the top of her lungs for Gabe. Some part of her knew she should be calling toward the beach but she could not shake her desire to stand where she stood and cry as she did. She saw a splash far out on the inky water, and she stopped shouting.
Time slowed to a standstill. She felt each second distinctly now, each beat of her heart an echoing, singular throb; each breath a slow-motion ordeal as she waited without an ounce of patience left in her. Her closed eyes welled with tears of sheer frustration. She felt the droplets grow during each microsecond of their formation, felt each small emission of hope and longing that filled them, until they burst forth in a slow rush of salt and heat, so heavy with import they crashed to the sand at her feet like breaking granite.
And then, at last, she was in his arms, his wet clothes saturating hers, his salty lips crushing her own, his breath tickling her face as he whispered her name between kisses.
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