This story was written in December of 1999. The theme this week was "comfort". I don't remember the motivation for this story but I think it's at least in part something one of my friends online told me about. Most is, no doubt, my imagination. This story, to me, seems to lack much punch as a story. It does make me want to take a trip to the beach though :)
I was walking slowly along the beach enjoying my solitude. It was a cool day a couple of days after Christmas and I had through the first of the year at the house on Melbourne Beach that my friend was letting me use. I've always liked this beach because there is little public access and only single family homes spread along it so its almost always sparsely populated. On days like today it was usually deserted. I could see a person or two walking up the beach and there were three surfers in wet suits trying their luck. At least I was not the craziest person here.
I was just feeling sorry for myself. Here I was a 45 year old of two grown children newly divorced from a husband who wanted somebody younger and prettier if his new squeeze was any example. I had gotten a good settlement and I had the good luck to have a good ongoing business that I could work from anywhere but all I saw in the mirror anymore were the wrinkles, gray hair and bags under my eyes. I had come face to face with the fact that my days of appealing to men were over. Oh sure my friends tried to tell me different all the time but that's what friends are for, to try to make you feel good even if they have to lie through your teeth.
I was so deep in thought as I shuffled along watching my toes in the sand that at first it didn't register, then I realized that somebody had said hello. I looked up and saw a man standing there with a handful of shells tossing them into the ocean one after another. He was dressed in sweats and wore a wind breaker making me aware for the first time that I was a little cold dressed in only a tee shirt and sweat pants and being barefoot. I never could bring myself to wear shoes on the beach even when it was cold out.
"Hi," I said stopping for some reason. I guess I wanted to talk even if it was to a stranger. At least a stranger would not have the feeling sorry for me attitude that my friends did. It was wearing old.
"Beautiful day isn't it?" he said smiling at me but something about the smile, the look in his eyes and the way hesaid it I got the feeling that he wasn't feeling like he sounded.
"A bit cool and windy" I said "but the ocean and sky sure are pretty."
He threw a few more shells and for a couple of minutes we stood and looked out at the ocean. I don't know how to describe it but there was no feeling like neither of us wanted to talk and I should keep walking. It felt right just standing there looking at the waves. Maybe I was just tired.
"Those people are nuts" he said as one of the surfers caught a good wave. "Good ride though."
"I've never understood being that dedicated to something like surfing and wanting to do it when its so cold"
"Me either they have to be cold" He said.
"I would think so. I'm starting to wish I'd worn a jacket" I said.
"If you're cold would you like to borrow my windbreaker? The sweatshirt will keep me warm for a bit."
That was when I found myself losing my mind because the next thing I said was "What I'd really like is to share it with you. Could you put your arms around me?"
He moved behind me and wrapped the coat as far around as he could then wrapped his arms around me.
"Better?" He asked? "That's what you wanted?"
"Its wonderful but I can't believe I asked a total stranger to hold me like this" I said quietly. It felt wonderful just to be held again.
"My name is Jay if that helps, tell me yours and we won't be strangers anymore will we?" he asked in my ear.
"That sounds good to me, my name is Lori" I said snuggling back into him a bit more and feeling him rest his cheek against my ear. It felt so warm and reminded me that my ears had been cold too. I found myself moving his hands up slightly to my chest. Again I asked myself if I'd lost my mind but I'd found something I'd been missing for so long and I guess I wanted all I could get.
"I'm glad to meet you Lori. This sure feels good. I think I ought to tell you that I'm married though. On the other hand just an hour ago my wife suggested I take a walk because I was bothering her again I guess. She said maybe I'd find somebody else that lived here that I could spend time with. She's not wanted to be held like this for a long time." Jay said.
I wasn't sure if I was crazy or not but I said "I don't mind Jay. Maybe just maybe fate brought us together to give us what we both need right now." I turned and slid my arms around him inside the jacket. I could feel that I'd already had an effect onhim as I leaned up and kissed him. "Why don't we go to my house and see about warming up a bit?"
We walked the little way down the beach to my house and that afternoon and the couple of days that followed were wonderful. Nothing permanent will or can come out of it I know but we both found comfort when and where we needed it.