Resting my chin on the railings of the ferry, I gazed out over the wild waters that seemed never-ending. Ships of all sizes and colours were scattered across the horizon, all headed off diligently to their separate distant shores.
“Why hello there” his voice called out to me, “What are you doing here?”
“I have the day free, so I was headed for the ferry… and yourself?”
“I’m going off to one of the islands, there’s something I need to do…” He replied, his voice trailing off as he looked down into my eyes, “I have time to spare though, would you like to join me?”
“I’d love to” I said, beaming back at him. He took my hand, and we disappeared into the day.
I looked up to the sky, the wondrous blanket which covered the land, beginning its shift from a dim cobalt to a burnt orange, as it sunk away beyond the setting sun and into the depths of the ocean blue.
We ran hand in hand through the crowds, not caring who saw us or what people would think. Stopping to catch our breath, we looked at each other and began to laugh. It was only in these moments, these sweet, beautiful moments, that we could truly be ourselves. No longer bound by the views of others, their downcast looks forcing us apart. No, it was times like these that I loved, riding on the high of freedom, with not a care in the world.
I traced my forefinger delicately along one of the rusty cracks of the railing, beginning to hum the tune to the song playing in my mind. A smile crept quietly onto my face, as I spied a flock of seagulls flying into view in their perfect formation.
We came to rest down by the waterfront, and went over to one of the old pine benches. He motioned for me to sit down, and as I did, took my right hand in his and knelt onto the ground.
“Honey come along with me,
Out into the shining bay,” He began to sing, his face beaming up towards mine.
“Shush! People are staring! …What if someone we know is here!!” I started, pressing a finger to his lips, my smile covering the very genuine paranoia that we might be discovered. It didn’t sway him, however, as he merely stood up, extended his arms towards the bright blue sky, and started again, this time singing even louder.
“Oh, darling, won’t you fly with me,
and be my princess for the day?”
What had been a quiet smile had now erupted into a wide grin, as I watched the seagulls disappear out of sight over one of the mountains. I turned my attention to my fellow passengers. Rows of long benches had been positioned along the deck, each sitting a whole family or several couples. One family caught my eye. What I noticed was that not a single one of them was looking out to the beauty of the sea. The parents, both in their late 30’s, had turned to face each other and were gazing into each others eyes, not saying a word, just appreciating the care and love that existed between them. As I watched, she placed her hand atop his, and both smiled. The children sat animatedly talking about some event – I couldn’t quite make it out – the daughter waving her arms in gestures to explain the enormity of something, whilst the son sat and listened, eating a bag of chips.
Our conversation had paused briefly. “Now M’Lady,” he spoke, returning to a dramatic voice, “…I myself am rather famished. Would you care to join me for the deluxe nourishment that be…” he went quiet, as he looked around, “…a hot dog?”
I played along, “Why of course M’Lord, I’d be delighted!”
“Well then,” he offered me his arm, which I took “Allons-y!” We walked arm in arm along the promenade, our synchronised strides oozing the facade of royalty, our chins held high and mighty, a hearty laugh escaping from the pit of his stomach.
I turned my attention to one of the island shores. The ferry was sailing past fairly closely, so I could see the silhouettes of couples, friends and families walking down the waterfront. The piercing laugh of a child rang through the air, as I saw a faint splash just off the coastline.
“Thank you good sir, and good day!” He exclaimed, lifting his imaginary hat to the hot dog vendor, who had a newly-found confused look painted across his face. Turning to face each other, we merely smiled a knowing smirk, took each others hand in our own, and walked towards the public viewing deck.
We walked along the well-trodden path, greenery to our left, the open waters leading out to our right. Hand in hand, we strolled along the waterfront, eating and chatting. As we reached the end of the path, he turned to me, a mischievous grin on his face, and leaned in slowly. He paused, his face mere inches away from mine, his eyes gazing down into my own, when a bird took flight from one of the trees beside us, squawking and flapping as if to warn others about our being there. Letting out a chuckle, he rolled his eyes, leaned in further past my face and whispered softly into my ear, “follow me”.
The ferry passed the island, and I looked out towards the horizon. The once blue sky had morphed into a beautiful palette of colours, ranging from the pale orange where the sun was dipping into the ocean, through a display of pinks, to an almost purple shade above and beyond the ferry. The deepest blue of night had yet to conquer the skies, appearing only far off behind the mountains, waking up to it’s nocturnal shift.
He led me down a hidden path, heading off the beaten track, yet still along the waterfront. Eventually we came out into a clearing, seemingly untouched, gracefully beautiful in it’s simplicity. There were a few large boulders, around which lay a couple of pebbles and stones, followed by a drop down to the waters edge. The ground was painted with a fine coat of grass, which swayed softly in the sea breeze.
The faint voices of the crowds we had left behind floated over the trees, but in all honesty they might as well have been worlds apart from us, we wouldn’t have noticed. He took my hand, and guided me around the far corner of the rocks, and as I stepped over the rocks behind him I saw a beautiful pavillion come in to view. It seemed so out of the way, yet in it’s isolation it had grown beauty far beyond any other. We walked up the steps, and side by side leant onto it’s railings, looking out over the water. Closing my eyes, I let the sound of the water on the rocks, the wind through the trees and the far off rustling of animals in the bushes fill my mind.
As the skies melted into darkness, I could see the twinkling lights of the villages that we were passing beging to light up, a sodium yellow string of lamp posts illuminating the rim of the islands like fairy lights, beyond which lay the sprinkled lights of the inhabitants’ houses.
I looked up towards the sky, resting my cheek on a smooth part of the railing. What hung above us seemed like someone had taken diamonds and strewn them across the heavens, each star gleaming with a story untold. I sighed, and closed my eyes.
“Open your eyes” he spoke, breaking the silence, his voice coming in above the crash of the water on the rocks. I did so, coming face to face with him, and smiled. He looked down to my face and smiled back, his face full of knowing, his eyes full of care. We stood in silence, taking in the moment, the privacy, the intimacy, the simplicity. He broke the stillness, placing a hand beneath my jawbone, tilting my head up to face his.
I sighed, inhaling with a smile the subdued scent of the sea. Lightly, I retraced the line down my arm that he had too had grazed along. With each new sensation that came to me, the rush of warmth, the cooling breeze, the crash of the water against the hull of the boat – my mind wonderfully stumbled through a myriad of memories, the wind blowing through my hair, the fair brown of his hair, the cool blue-grey of his eyes.
All the world seemed to drift into a sleepy lull, as his voice softly came floating down to my ears, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art-”
“-oh, knock it off Shakespeare” I said, cutting him off, pulling his face down to my own. A gust of wind blazed from behind me, to which I surrendered, letting myself be blown into his embrace, his lips crashing onto mine. The kiss was slow yet passionate, controlled yet wild. His hands traced lightly down the crease of my spine, causing me to arch up and inwards towards him, all the while my own hands made their way up his back, running my fingers through his hair, before finally coming to rest crossed over the back of his neck.
As the swell of bliss faded, his lips left my own, moving upwards to place a kiss on my forehead. Looking down on me with his gorgeous eyes, he squeezed me tightly, brushed a stray lock of hair aside and whispered in my ear, “I wish we didn’t have to hide away like this..”
I sighed, thinking exactly the same thing.
The ferry began to approach the piers. My destination. As the ship berthed, I watched as the waves crashed below against the icy green of the ship’s hull, each collision more dramatic than the previous. I took one last look out over the waters I had just crossed, the landscape now a changed scene. Innocent blues had grown into the wise purple, the sparkle of the morning seas morphed into the quiet glow of the evening light.
The seas knew my secret, my bittersweet romance.