Among yet not With People

I pick up on that “among people” even if I am not “with people” vibe too, especially when I’m at Barnes & Nobles curled up with a comic or book or just writing in the knock-off Starbucks cafe section, watching people.

Some people are obviously on a date, others are doing homework in group study. Some are just chilling by themselves. In such an environment, one can just be, without being overwhelmed by maintaining conversation or putting up a front with someone else. In such moments, we are all aware of each other and accepting through our silence and lack of verbal interaction -aside from asking to share the power outlet or to watch someone’s stuff for them on a quick bathroom break.

The hum of dialogue is a soft and melodic bass, the excited voices of children a punctuation and the steadfast and plodding steps of the grandparents a slow, reliable rhythm anchoring the symphony as the coffee pot gurgles its steamy melody.

In the fall, the pumpkin spice latte accents the air, flitting around the sent of coffee and baked goods. The barista chuckles with her coworker as they argue the merits of one band’s lead singer over another. A familiar banter I hope to someday emulate with someone, someday, somewhere…

A sense of hopelessness washes over me, I turn back to the straightforward world of heroes, misunderstood and yet never alone, even when the knife of betrayal plunges into their soul over and over, they are never alone.

A sidekick, a partner, a lover, a brother, a friend, a colleague, an ally, enemy-of-my-enemy-

There is always someone…

I pull my hoodie around me, burrowing deeper into the slightly uncomfortable wooden chair perched in the window. Cars go by, there is something so hypnotic about the zoom of the vehicles from one side of the window to the other.

-Zip.

-Zap

-Zop.

We played the zip-zap-zop game in drama class, to prompt swift reaction time and to practice reacting off each others’ “energy” I guess. It was a rapid game, accompanied with a clap and slide of one palm over the other in the direction of someone else who caught the “Zip” and sent off a “Zap” to another who received and slided a “Zop” on to someone else.

Hesitate or delay, and you’re out of the game.

“Zip”     “Zap  “Zop”

“-Zip!” “-Zap!” “-Zop!”

Zip

Zap

Zop

Catch a turn of life, quickly return it to someone, somewhere else. Quickly move on before you sink and become bogged down by the intensity of the here and now.

Zip

Zap

Don’t fail to move along-

“-Zop”

Winner is all alone.

The king at the pinnacle of his throne desired a queen to sit with him. So he sent his brave knight to search the land for a woman worthy to become his queen. He waited for 30 days and 30 nights, and on the morning of the 31st day, word is brought that a queen of most noble carriage and unmatched beauty is on her way, accompanied by the king’s most courageous and loyal knight, to meet and wed the king.

How his heart burst to hear the news! His majesty could hardly contain himself. What to wear? What to do? How should he prepare to meet his most beloved queen?

The king was besides himself with joy. He commanded that the entire palace be cleaned from top to bottom, that the finest foods in the kingdom be brought and the most lauded chefs cook a banquet to honor his queen on their wedding day. All the nobles of the land were summoned to the wedding, and all the common folk brought gifts and homage to the palace, in honor of his queen.

When finally the queen-to-be arrives, the king raced forward to greet her. He noticed her delicate hands and melodic voice, her laughter and sparkling eyes. In all her raven haired beauty, none else in the kingdom could match her in beauty.

If he wasn’t in love before, his majesty was smitten by the mere sight of her.

Three days later, the wedding bells rung, and the King married his lawfully wedded Queen. The king was delighted, he achieved the pinnacle, and had at his side, the most divine of all feminine creatures. What more could he ask for?

…Loyalty

…Faithfulness

Devotion…

A month later, the king found himself in the smoldering ashes of his ambition. His most loyal knight, whom he had trusted above all others, held his blade to the King’s throat.

His queen stood by the knight’s side, her delicate hands clasped over her belly, almost 3 months pregnant.

Forced away from his kingdom, with neither queen nor support, the King of one turned to the forest with a broken heart. His army stolen, his love betrayed, he had nothing left but a hollow crown and empty arms.

Show… don’t tell…

Right.

Sometimes less is more.


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Kite Dreams

He always wanted to fly a kite.

Darius imagined that either he would fly his kite, or let the string twine round his throat. Perhaps it was a physical euphemism for a subconscious connection to his plight.

Fly or die.

The beach stretches for miles to the right. The wild woods to the left. Breezes from the ocean swiftly float mist from the churning waves. The trees whisper their acquiescence in a lullaby of sorrow.

Darius rolls into the sand, combing through his fingers the granules of gold and silence. Flick back the sands of twenty years, and he was just a boy sprinting through the waves. Now, he is a man. A young man, struggling to find the meaning of life. The thread of destiny. What is there, in this life, for him?

Purpose.

Jonas strokes Darius’ cheek, a brush of sweet everlasting pain. A light kiss, the pressure of skin on skin.

Wrap it up and give it away. All the worry, all the concern. The decisions that every second demand…

***

Stumbling through the city lights, the stench of rot and filth permeates the air as Darius slides past the metal grates. Wrapped in fear and shame, the shivers of delicious pain floats above the struggles and display. His breath sucks in the poison and thinks it paradise.

He knows better now. But too late.

Jonas’ arms wrap around Darius’ shoulders. An embrace nearly claustrophobic now… He can’t seem to escape -but then, does he even want to? Smart moves need to be made, can he manage to place the proper bets?

Weeping, Darius slides to his knees, clasping Jonas’ knees in a grip so desperate, the denim fabric crinkles in the way only ironing can resolve. Shuddering sobs vibrate through his spine bowing in supplication -or perhaps…

Surrender.

Jonas stands silently, and somehow, that silence is worse than rejection. Worse than extracting organs from his ribcage and cracking his remaining bones despite turning to dust by the rejection. Filling the void never seemed so difficult as in those moments when Darius had felt needed, wanted, desired, determined-

Beloved…

Those days are gone, long gone. And now he has become the ‘other woman’.

Oh, how he will flay himself later. How he will self-flagellate.

Hold, then release.

***

Jonas strides away, the echo of his words ringing in Darius’ ears like the tremors of an approaching earthquake. Increasing aptitude, inherent longitude. And the sweet scent of decay and ozone taints the air.

Lightning has just killed his dreams.

Darius stands in the window. The wind and the storm blow detritus and trash up and down the streets. The remnants of his relationship blow across his mind.

The final resolution and last fantasy dances in the drifting heaps as they form, dissolve, and recongregate.

Just the cold glass, a rain-struck view, and his blatant anguish remain.

 

 

(Father)

I could never escape the shadow of my father.

The Greatest. The Best.

How would I measure up? How could I measure up to the perfection of a legend?

I deserted the haven of my father to strike out on my into the world. The illusion was broken. I couldn’t live under his flawed dominion any longer.

So I left. But I could never escape.

He lived in every shadow, watched from every pinnacle, hovered over my soul with the kind of incidental and abstract care of duty.

Far away was never far enough.

I kept to my own corner, stayed in my world and made this space my home. And yet, they couldn’t see me. They only saw him.

Son of my father. They could never see beyond his mask and cowl imprinted in my features.

The greatest. The best…

My phone rang, shrill, in the night. I crouched on my perch and gaze at the city. Not my city, no, none of it would ever be mine.

I accepted the call. Bluetooth picked up the familiar rasp and echo of the distant streets, the creak of gloves, and the flap of cloth in the wind. A gruff,voice speaks.

“Nightwing, come in!”

 

 

Postword: A fun article I found while hunting for pics-http://www.fortressofsolitude.co.za/2016/06/batman-as-a-father/

We’re not perfect…

I bite my lip nervously, our eyes hover in the moment of hush. We kiss again, deeper, hands moving from shoulders to neck, back, arms, and skimming down to chest. I inhale his exhale, suck in her breathy moans, fingers roaming wildly.

Our caresses transition to desperate groping- I twist my fingers in his hair, forcing him to tilt his head as I seal my lips to his. I shudder when she laps my neck with her tongue and wraps her fingers around my throat with a gentle squeeze. A switch’s paradise…

His hands cup my ass as her palms glide beneath my shirt. I release his lips when she pinches my nipples, and I don’t recognize the moan that escapes. It sounds wanton…and hot. I turn and push her to the bed, gently straddling her hips and wiggling up her long body to kiss her pouty pink lips. Succulent, I suck on her strawberry lipstick, and lick inside her mouth for her unique spicy flavor. She wraps her arms and legs around me in the softest cocoon. I can’t stop stroking her hair, carding my fingers through corn silk as the kiss goes on and on.

I tense when I feel his fingers reach for my belt, foreign territory and fear, but she lures me back as he soothingly strokes my back. I slide down, laving her neck and licking my way down to her breasts. Not too big, not too small, I can’t resist suckling them through her tank top. Gingerly, I nibble with teeth -will I hurt her? No… she seems to like that -oh, he’s reaching between us and… there goes my jeans.

 

Five days later…

“MotherFUCKERS!!!”

I fume angrily as I catch them together, without me. I clench my fingers so hard they dig into my palms. “What the fuck is this?!”

They try to speak but I slice my palm into the air.

“Know what? Don’t even. At least we – no I -can stop wasting my time with this farce!”

I slam right out the door I stepped through moments before, slam-dunking the bouquet of orange tulips to the bottom of the garbage bin as I stomp out the back.

Fuck!! I knew this was too good to be true…

 

Late that afternoon…

“Beauuuu, you knew better!” Frienemy 1 gushes morbidly, her lipstick red lips slobbering at her margarita. “Two is a couple, three is a crowd. And you’re -literally- the odd man out.”

She stares pointedly at my crotch. Really? 

I am not my genitals, ya know…

“Yeaaaahhh-shhhh,” slurs Frienemy 2 as she reaches for another frothy concoction. “Three-zzzzz …. haardddddd.”

Gee, thanks Belinda.

I idly slosh my bourbon in circles, wondering if answers can be found at the bottom of my glass. They never are…but it never hurts to try.

Can’t be as bad as the last thing I tried.

Fucking threesomes…

 

The next morning…

knock knock Knock Knock KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK!!!!!

“Whoever it is, I am going to FUCKING KILL YOU!!!” I announce, clutching my head. Barreling to the door, I snatch it open. “I swear to HADES-!”

She stands on my doorstep.

And there I am, frozen and gaping like a fool. 

I slam the door in her face.

 

Ten minutes later…

“Come in,” I grumble, squinting through my hangover, clutching a pain-reliever in one hand and a glass of milk in the other. “Just stop your infernal banging!”

She shuts the door and sails right past me into the living room. Staring in disbelief, I follow her in.

“This does NOT mean I forgive you!” I shout, then wince and gulp down the pills. “I’m in pain so make it quick.”

Frowning with concern, she steps closer, raising her hand to touch me. I step back, raising my eyebrow –I dare you, bitch!

Damn it, I hate her so much now.

“I’m sorry, okay. I might have fucked up-” She begins.

“No, you definitely fucked up.” I correct, pointedly.

“-But it was your idea!”

“Cuz you couldn’t stop whining about dick!!”

“Well, it’s not like you have one!!!” she screams in my face.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the true crux of this bullshit.

I shove her away. “Get the fuck out of my house!”

She glares defiantly for a few moments. “You started this. Don’t be mad at the outcome -bitch!”

The door shudders on its hinges on a gust of fury. I sigh, collapse on the couch and wipe the water from my eyes.

Shit… how did this go so bad so fast?

“I’m not a bitch!” I shout, belatedly. I’m devastated.

 

Seven days ago…

“Babe?” Her crystal blue eyes stare in mine with curiosity.

“Hmmm?” I caress her tummy, pulling her into a tighter spooning position.

“Have you ever… no, it’s stupid.”

“Have I what?”

“Have you ever been with… a guy?”

I sputter in surprise.”Lol, why would I? I like girls more.”

“Yeah, but…have you ever had dick?”

“…What are you getting at?” I ask, frowning.

Sigh… “How do you know for sure if you’ve never had the alternative?”

Annoyed at her line of questioning, I cut to the point. “Okay -One, I just do. And two, that’s a bit ignorant.” I pull away and turn on my opposite side.

 

The very next evening…

“Hey, this is Kevin. Blah, blah, blah, blah…”

A chorus goes up “Hi Kevin!!”

I wave my arm vaguely in his direction, my focus on my girlfriend who’s sulking for some reason.

“Kevin, this is Heather and Gareth,” the host introduces, shuffling poor Kevin through the numerous clusters of people in conversation. “They live up your way in Platty County.”

Heather’s eyes light up. “Nice to meet you, Kevin,” she says with a giggle.

Ohhh, I see where this is going.

“Hey,” I grunt, stepping closer to Heather. It’s futile to hope that my proximity would dissuade her appreciative gaze.

“….I just moved to the area, know any local coffee shops?” Kevin’s honey-tinted eyes glide to me for a few seconds.

Heather butts in eagerly. “Depends on what you like to drink. The best coffee is BurGlasses….”

I mentally roll my eyes as Heather subtly pushes me away. To be fair, he is attractive, in a sweet sort of way. And I’ll bet those muscles don’t hurt things. I gulp down my beer and wash the thoughts away.

Shit, if Heather doesn’t stop grabbing his arm, I’ll-

Waiiittt. I can kill two birds here… Satisfy her curiosity and get him out of her system.

 

Thirteen Months later…

“Please welcome Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Gates!”

The guests burst into whistles, shouts, and happiness as Heather and Kevin meander down the aisle. The triumphant entry of the newly wedded couple is accompanied by flower petals and rice thrown through the air. The wedding guests follow and begin drifting toward the buffet set up on the green, grassy lawn.

I lag behind, my emotions in turmoil. On the one hand, I can’t believe that I -again- am the odd one out.

I should have just said no to the invite…

On the other hand, I shouldn’t be jealous of the cheating bastards. They’ll probably be at each other’s throats in a matter of months. Didn’t mean I wasn’t jealous, though.

No girlfriend. No partner. No friend to accompany me to this function.

Sighing, I sit at my name tag and stab my fork through the flower salad. Eyes drifting, they settle on the bartender across from the buffet tables.

Thank fuck there’s an open bar.

 

Three hours later…

The bartender sure is taking his time. 

I try once again to get the liquor guardian’s attention. But he’s distracted by the demands of the Father-of-the-bride at the far end of the crowded bar.

Attention hog… There are thirsty people here!!

The bartender finally notices my existence just as an inscrutable brunette slinks to my side.

“Hi! I’m Wren.”

Don’t care. I smile vacantly and turn back to the bartender. “Another whiskey double,” I say, swirling my empty tumbler.

She wouldn’t be dissuaded. “So, nice wedding, huh?”

“Sure.” I sink my face into the liquor trough for a long pull. I am nowhere near drunk enough for this.

She seems to sense my disinterest. “Look, I’m sorry, I just wanted to ask if you wanted to dance… Obviously, you’ve got other things on your mind,” she trails off.

I sigh, raising my eyes to her disappointed face. She… Damn it, she’s making me feel guilty.

“Wass your name? Wren?” She nods.

“Kay, one dance. That’s it.” I drain the glass and slam it back on the table.

She smiles and her face lights up like the sun. “Damn!” I mutter, attracted despite myself.

We approach the dance floor just as a new song starts. “Milady,” I drawl politely, bowing slightly while extending my hand.

Her warm, soft hand takes mine and we whirl onto the dance floor.

 

One sweaty hour later…

“Oh my Gawd!” She laughs, breathing heavily. “Who taught you how to dance?”

I grin. “My older brother. He liked to consider himself the ‘Casanova of Dance’.”

“With moves like that, he must have his pick of the ladies,” she chuckles, molding to my side like a missing puzzle piece.

“Actually, he’s gay, so it’s guys he’s fending off on the dance floor,” I laugh at the image of my brother actually turning down the attention of his worshipers. Not a chance.

“Lucky guy!! My half-brother is the clumsiest person in the world.” Wren leans in conspicuously. “Actually, my entire family is notorious for our lack of coordination.”

I take the hint and wrap an arm around her. “And you still asked me to dance?”

“I figured you’d make me look good. Either that, or you’d break my fall, like a true gentleman.” She grins at me, laughter sparking in her green eyes.

Damn… she’s… amazing.

“By the way, I never got your name,” Wren says, her hand sweeping around my waist.

“Oh, right. My name’s Gareth.”

“Gareth…” she rolls it on her tongue. “Nice to meet you…”

Suddenly I realize how close she’s gotten to my face. Is she?

Oh.

Wren tastes of honey and vodka, a heady combination that mixes with the softness of her lips, the strength of her tongue and her bold grasp on the hair at my nape.

Dammmnnn. Firecracker.

The kiss concludes. I rock back on my heels, as she licks her lips with the look of a cat sampling cream.

“W-w-wow…” I stammer. Dammmmnnnnn GURL!!!!!

Wren smirks knowingly. “Wanna go to my place?”

Uhhh, YEAH! 

I nod dumbly, wondering how this woman managed to steal my tongue and my brain in one fell stroke.

 

The next morning…

I recoil at the large gray eyes inches from mine. “Judas-fucking-priest!”

“Mmmmm-whaaaa?”

Ohhh, it’s a cat. Where? Oh, right…

Wren.

“It’s just Truffle, babe.” Wren says sleepily, burrowing her back into my chest, little spoon to my big.

Now that I look again, Truffle appears to be a large gray cat that nested on the pillow next to me. I turn back to the woman in my arms, how she fits so well, and…

Be still my beating heart… shit.

I don’t wanna go anywhere. I just want this to last a few more minutes.

Wren starts to stir. “Babe, I gotta go to work…”

Crap. Well, this was good while it lasted-

“How about dinner later?” Wren finishes, twisted beneath the covers to face me. Bedhead haloing her head, Wren’s face remains angelically sleepy and open like a flower facing the sky.

How did I get this lucky?

She’s amazing.

“Yeah,” I croak, a crooked smile on my face. “Dinner sounds great.”

 

Ten hours later…

“You hooked up with someone at the wedding?!” Belinda screeches, slamming down her ever-present margarita glass. “You man-whore!”

“Ohh, give it a rest! It’s only right he meets someone new at that bitch’s wedding, it’s good karma!” Frienemy 1 retorts, sipping her second Long Island at a sedate pace.

“Lindsey, you dumb broad, what the fuck do you know about karma?” Belinda turns her razor tongue on a new victim.

“More than you know about celibacy, you slut!” Lindsey retorts.

Belinda gasps. “You!! You…CUNT!”

I sigh and wave for my tab as Belinda and Lindsey start cat-fighting. I head for the door as one starts yanking on the other’s hair.

 

Four weeks later…

I wake up to sunlight streaming through the windows and Truffles eyeing me hungrily. “Hey Truffles,” I whisper as he casually licks his paw.

“He thinks you’re food.” Wren mumbles, kissing the back of my neck and massaging my shin with the leg she swung over my hip during the night.

“I think I can take him,” I reply, shifting to face Wren. She meets me in the middle for a morning peck.

“Mmm, that’s what he thinks too.”

I pull back and look into her eyes. “Think you can take me?”

She smirks, clutching the hand I raise to her face. “Absolutely.”

I sigh in contentment.

 

Later that afternoon…

Surfacing from the chlorine-doused pool, I sweep my shoulder-length hair back and swipe the water from my face. I hoist myself out the pool and collapse on the poolside lounging chair, next to Wren who’s getting her tan on.

“Random question, promise you won’t be mad?”

I turn to Wren curiously. “Yeah, what is it?”

“Have you ever been with a guy?”

The day suddenly seems cold and dark. I force my muscles to relax.

“Yeah.”

Slipping off her sunglasses, Wren pins me with an intense gaze. “Do you miss it?”

What? “What?”

“Do you miss dick?”

“Wha- NO!” I make a face. “I like girls, I’m not into guys whatsoever.”

She releases a breath. “Okay… Good. Sorry, I had to ask. I’ve been burned before and I’d much rather be upfront about it at the start.”

I can feel my shoulders settling down from their perch near my ears. “I can understand that,” I say finally. I lean back in the chair and settle my sunglasses over my eyes. “My last girl ended up marrying the guy she begged me to bring into our bed for a one-time threesome.”

Wren’s expression is murderous. “Who’s the bitch and can we kill her?”

My reaction is halfway between a sputter and a chuckle. “Nah, she isn’t worth it. Plus, it worked out. I ended up meeting you at her wedding.”

Her eyes widen. “No, way! You were dating my sister?”

“…Your sister?” I stare in disbelief. “You’re Heather’s sister?!”

“Technically half-sister, but yeesh!” Wren shakes her head. “Sorry you got burned, but that’s typical for Heather. She has… interesting ideas on fidelity.”

“Yeah, no shit!”

“Gareth, can you take off your sunglasses for a minute?”

I slide them to my forehead. “Wassup?”

Wren leans close, and I mirror her so we meet in the space between our chairs. “I’ve gotten to know you pretty well, “she begins, a hint of nerves in her face. “I want to be upfront about the fact that I have feelings for you. I’ve been burned before, I’m a jealous person when it comes to my relationships and-”

“Yes,” I interrupt. “I’m all for an exclusive relationship. I get what you’re saying.”

She pauses, then that brilliant smile reignites the sun in the sky. “Damn, Gareth, I fucking love you.”

Grinning, I pull her out of her chair and into my lap. “Love you too, Babes.”

The last thought that floats through my fading brain?

I’m so glad that Heather cheated on me.

Cuz I found paradise with Wren.

 

 

Copyright © 2016 by Opalflame

Flash Fiction Day #5

Inspired by Life (2013) Season 2 Episode 21 and the tragedies of Orlando, FL in 2016 and Aurora, CO in 2012. This is a work of fiction.

Flash Fiction Day 2016

Part 2: One plus one equals 1

The professor strides to the front of the room as the class volume lowers to a low hum. He scribbles “Professor Halmen” on the white board before turning to address the students.

“Good morning, class. As you can see, my name is Professor Halmen. In case you stumbled into the wrong classroom, this is GSNI 101 – Introduction to Culture and Diversity…”

Three students pack up their laptops and slink out the door. Professor Halmen watches them go, eyebrow raised.

“Yep, always a few of them every year… Now that we’ve gotten that out the way, the core concept for today is-”

Turning to the white board, Professor Halmen picks a blue marker and writes:

ONE + ONE = ONE.

Continue reading Flash Fiction Day #5

Flash Fiction Day #4

Inspired by “Hotline Bling” ~ by Drake. And reality.

Flash Fiction Day 2016

Proxied Knight: Helping or Enabling?

How can I save you when you won’t save yourself?
Will I just become another one of your knights?
Doomed to destroy myself in futility?

Will I just become another one of your victims?
Dead by proxy of you?

“Savior” ~Opalflame

Day 1

“I’m here to rescue youuuuuu.”

The ringtone blares. He knows that tune.

Staring at the nightstand, Dante watches as the vibration of the incoming call steers the cell phone closer and closer to the edge.

It only rings for them.

Continue reading Flash Fiction Day #4

Flash Fiction Day #3

Flash Fiction Day, June 22, 2016

Inspired by… fucked up relationships.

Scapegoats – Bad Approach

You’re right. It’s my fault.

It’s my fault that you’re there and I’m here. 

Got it right for once.

Cuz it wasn’t my fault you snorted that shit on Friday. Wasn’t my fault your job was drug testing on Monday. Wasn’t my fault you were fired by Wednesday.

Continue reading Flash Fiction Day #3

Flash Fiction Day #2

Written as part of Flash Fiction Day 2016 hosted by Damon L. Wakes on June 22nd.

Inspired by “Whatever you like” ~ by T.I.  while doing my laundry.

Part 1: One plus one equals 2

Because you don’t like me the way I love you.

He gave her a hickey, and as it faded so did their love.

The first three hours were post-coital bliss; mostly spent cuddling and sleeping. By morning, they blearily eyed each other over the gulf of growing distance. A canyon between them, a classic divide over bowls of cold cereal at the kitchen island. Wendy stared menacingly at his discarded sock sitting in the corner behind her potted plant and wondered if he’d remember to take it with him. Otherwise it would join her growing single-sock collection from past dates.

Continue reading Flash Fiction Day #2

Flash Fiction Day #1

Flash Fiction Submission – joining Damon L. Wakes challenge, thanks for posting about it, Sonya (her blog is Only 100 words).

Written at 2pm local time. Inspired by Peaky Blinders (2013).

Bulletin – Bullet In

Home for a bullet. When he put the gun to my head, I thought that at last, the bullet would come home.

There’s always been a home for it …there. Just a matter of time. I’d always thought it was only a matter of time before it came home.

I couldn’t stop smiling. Either way, I wouldn’t stop smiling.

I’d die with a smile on my face.

Continue reading Flash Fiction Day #1

Hope & Insanity

The fine line
Between hope and
Insanity, is
Innocuous.


 

He couldn’t help but watch. They looked so good together. The sandy, sunkist man. The flaming red-haired woman. From their frequent kisses, and gentle touches, he could tell they were in love. Deeply entwined within each other.

The light of their affection blinded him. But it was the flash of light on the waves, spearing sharply into his eyes that caused the tears.

He pulled the brim of his hat lower as they passed. A moment for them, a counter to his  eternal agony. His chest felt like it would explode from the seismic tremors slipping from his soul.

How could he? How COULD He?

A dented smile cracked his face. I guess, he and I have different definitions on forever.

The light glinted off the small gold circlet as it arched towards the ocean.