When attraction felt like a distraction she ignored it.
When she believed in love for the first time, it was misshapen and old, a violation.
When he set eyes on her, she believed he was older.
When he spoke, she went back in time and felt unleashed, free.
She looked at his features in the Southern sun and thought of perfection.
And philosophised in her head about belonging and instant bonds.
She recognised something in him that he himself was blind to.
She missed them all, the signs, the youthful clarity, the unavoidability.
Age separated them, she didn’t believe in crippled bridges, she succumbed to the wind.
His body was one to hold, he admired her, strangely, she felt captivated.
He envisioned his goal, she had no limitations in mind, no end dates.
And yet she knew, they had no idea who they really were, what drove them, hurt them.
The fable would end and she would learn her lesson.
He would be disappointed, both had separate dreams, none culminating, perhaps.
They were strangers caught in the same net, struggling, infatuated, wrestling until
Released and none of them would be able to remember, clearly, what had occurred to
Them, in captivity. How they lost the ability to think clearly.
How their intertwined bodies became a glitch below water.
But she remained, whiplashed onto the cold shore feeling that life’s no more.
That she had lost him at sea, that he vanished voluntarily.
That he saw her dreams and wouldn’t be a part of it.
Fear took him, the waves, the wind that blows everything away, she lands without hope.
He took the possibility of her with him, drowned it deeply so that she would not hold
On to the dilemma, the disillusionment.
It wasn’t an act of kindness, she reckoned.
It felt like thievery, of barbaric animosity, no reconciliation.
The storm howled over her naked skin as she dug her teeth into the sand.
And cried, whereto did her lover go, staring back at the sea, at the immensity, terrified.
“Portrait of a Young Girl” by Sophie Gengembre Anderson (1823-1903)