Roman à Clef: May/June 2015


With the sun setting and clouds drifting delicately across the blended sky of soft purple and orange hues, she sat comfortably on the sandy shores of New Buffalo, tight in his embrace. The two of them sat together quietly, watching the sunset with his arms wrapped around her. Her back pressed against his chest, they lay their legs out in the sand as the winds picked up, tousling her long, loose hair in his face.

She felt his lips tenderly kiss the back of her neck. She smiled most coyly as he tightened his hold on her. She hugged him as she turned her head to look at his face. Brown eyes, dark hair, and a chin she found irresistible. He propped himself closer to her as the warmth of his mouth against hers sent a current running through her body. She could feel a heat rising in her core as she gently held the back of his head in her palm. Parting his lips, he moved his mouth to her jaw and down her neck, nuzzling ever gently and softly.

His hand moved down to her chest as she started laughing. Removing it immediately off of her, she turned her body to get a better look at him. His eyes glued to hers, she held his right hand in hers and began looking at it. Twisted and flipped backwards, she straightened his wristband, a thoughtful memento paying homage to his field of practice—black with a thin blue line. Gazing up at him, she smiled as she smoothed her fingers over his tan, soft skin. He smiled back, kissing her on the nose.

It was quiet on the beach. Just the two of them. Gone were the specks of umbrellas and sand castles that dotted the shores earlier that day. All that was left was the two of them holding onto each other, looking as far out past Lake Michigan as they could. As she relaxed her head on his shoulder, the two of them watched the glistening, shining lake grow darker. They sat silently on the lonely beach, mesmerized by the serene waters that lay ahead.

Grabbing his left hand, she stared hard at the red and white hands of his black faced watch with black straps, and looked up at him with a half smile.

“It was a good day though, right?” he asked smiling.

She nodded her head and kissed his cheek. Holding his hand in hers, she realized he never kept his hands in fists when they were together. As anxious a person as he was, he would often clench his fists with his thumbs tucked-in around friends and family. Many associated it with respect and confidence thanks to his profession, but she knew from their time together that it denoted frustration, restraint and a physical way of closing himself off from others. When they sat together, when they were intimate, she always noticed his hands were free. Looking at his left hand, she gently caressed his long, slender fingers and smoothed the Y-shaped vein between his middle and ring finger.

She straightened her body and sat forward, her eyes drifting off to the horizon. Watching her, he caressed her back and shoulders, feeling her warm skin against the palm of his hands. He could smell her floral perfume with its subtle hints of fruits and amber in the air as she had sat up. He brushed her hair to the front of her chest, kissing her back, holding the sides of her arms.

As the wind picked up, she fixated her eyes on the surface of the glimmering water.

“We should go. It’s getting late,” she said softly.

“Uh, okay, sure,” he said with a surprised tone.

He got up and began brushing the sand off his beige khaki shorts, gazing down at her. Reminiscent of a painting, he smiled at the moment and kept it for himself. Her, against a backdrop of a beautiful sky and lake. She looked up at him and smiled as he lent out both of his hands to help her up. With her hands in his, he thought about how if it weren’t for her, there never would have been an empty space. Or perhaps the need to even fill it.

Alone on the shores of New Buffalo, the two stood barefoot in the sand as the sky grew darker. As their toes touched and she giggled, he kept thinking about it, he kept thinking about the two of them. And then he realized it. If he had cared for her less, maybe it would be easier to talk about with people. But he never did. She was his, just like he was hers.

The more you begin to love someone, the harder it is to tell them. While he hugged her, he thought if he hugged her any tighter, maybe she would know it from his actions. That he held her so closely that perhaps in some universe, they would melt into each other like the moments they spent together. Where she would end, he would begin. He closed his eyes, tightly as he held her, wishing the moment lasted longer. Her head tucked underneath his chin, he could feel her hot breath against his chest. Holding her in that moment, he prayed she understood what it all really meant.

A second later, he whispered in her ear.

© TANIA HUSSAIN, 2016 | ROMAN À CLEF: May 24, 2015 – June 30, 2015

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