If the rain comes they run and hide their headsDown on the beach today I am careful, picking my way among the rocks. I am dressed in forbidden shoes and not enough layers by far in this almost-raining relentless wind. I miss the wind so I like to be in it when I can. Caleb is playing magnanimous hero today, affording me time for a leisurely walk on an average Thursday morning in spite of nothing. He continues past me and begins a wide eventual circle back as I stop on Watching Rock, a bigger rock than most with a flattish place to stand and look out to sea. Like Picnic Rock where Ben and I got married but here at home.
They might as well be dead
I'm facing the wrong way, forcing myself to look up at the cliffs instead of out at the beautiful ocean. Standing up on the platform between the end of the two backyards where we set up the telescope on clear nights is Lochlan. Arms crossed. Curls blowing straight. I can't see his expression but I know he disapproves. I wave and blow kisses but he doesn't move. Maybe he isn't looking at me. Maybe he's looking at the beautiful ocean. Maybe he's got his eyes closed just so he can feel the wind too.
Satisfied that I have figured him out I turn my face to look behind me, out to sea. Caleb is coming around and he'll take it personally that I turn away the moment he comes close but I need to seize the moment. I close my eyes and listen hard to the surf crashing against the shore. It's the most beautiful sound in the world, the best music, the heartbeat of a planet. My heartbeat matches in muffled cadence and I smile even though my eyes are still closed.
Caleb presses his head down against my temple and I smell vetiver and sage, mint and woodsy, heavy patchouli. My eyes fly open and he stands back slightly and asks if I had been hypnotized by the waves.
I shake my head and jump down off the rock, almost wiping out in my smooth-bottomed ballet flats. He grabs my arm and steadies me.
I'm fine. Thanks for the help.
I don't want to see you lose any more teeth in this lifetime. He laughs, establishing provenance. I was famous as a child for demanding to try the boys' old Big Wheels/new ten-speed bikes/beloved skateboards and landing on the pavement on my face. I have no perfect, intact teeth in my head. They're all complicated composite reconstructions or simply chipped. But it's endearing. I lucked out and unless you know you really can't tell except that they are pretty crooked straight on.
(I never smile with my mouth open unless there are no cameras present.)
He tucks past-me along with present-me into his arm, under his coat with him, away from the wind as we head back toward the steps. He's warm, it's nice. Future-me should run while she can.
Come see me tonight for a nightcap. It's been a long time.
I'll speak to him.
I don't think that will help.
You would be surprised what he would do for you.
He took my hand and helped me up across the gap between the rocks and the platform at the bottom of the steps and then we climbed in silence. Him probably confident that his plans are set in stone, me wondering if he thinks I would be so foolish as to think he could ever talk Loch into anything. But when we get to the top Loch is gone and we're here in our beautiful little commune by the sea and I realize that he can or all of this would simply be a dream.