so I was at this bar, on the coast of florida -- the west coast, the gulf side, you know. it was this place called lana kai, and my friend gave me a ride all the way from naples, which is a good forty-five minutes south of the place.
and so we were sitting there at the bar, which is half indoors and half on the beach, and all these old men kept staring at my friend’s chest. a couple guys bought us beer and one guy asked me to dance. I was surprised he asked me to dance, and not my friend -- men were usually more attracted to her.
but the guys were jerks anyway -- one looked like a marine with that haircut and must have been high on something, one looked like he decided to forgo hygiene, another was twice my age. it’s not as if I try to pick up men in bars anyway.
so after a while I couldn’t stand being at the bar, next to the reggae band that was playing (I never really liked reggae music anyway, I mean, it’s too slow to dance to), so I begged my friend to come walk with me on the beach.
christ, I felt like a ten-year-old with a bucket and shovel when I kicked off my black suede shoes and ran into the water. I always loved the feel of sand when it’s drenched in water. it feels like clay as it seeps around my toes, pulling me into the ground.
so there I was, splashing in the water, wearing a black sequin dress, throwing my purse to the shore, taking a swig from my can of miller lite. this was life, I thought. pure and simple. an army couldn’t have dragged me out of the water.
so my friend found some guy to hit on, as she usually does, and she wanted me to hit on his friend. I found him ugly as all sin, and impossible to talk to. I told him that one of the rafts on the shore was mine, and instead of driving to the bar I sailed. and he believed me. I told my friend flat out that I wouldn’t go with him. she was pissed that I didn’t find him good-looking.
so then He strolled up from the bar to the beach, an intriguing stranger, and He walked up right next to me in the water, still wearing his shoes, seeming to know that I needed to be saved. as most knights in shining armor would.
and He said hello to me, and He started talking to me, and He cracked a few jokes, and He made me laugh.
and okay, I’ll admit it -- he was good-looking, really good looking. I remember at one point, looking at him made me think of a greek statue, He had this curly hair, this sharp chin, these strong cheek bones. but those greek statues could never talk to me, they have no color, they don’t come alive. they’re made of stone.
His name was Clay. and when we talked He crept into my pores, the way the sand made it’s way between my toes. His voice tunneled into me, boring me hollow, making me anxiously wait to be filled with more and more of His words.
my friend disappeared with her new-found monosyllabic lover, for hours, until long after the bar closed, leaving me stranded. there I was, forty-five miles north of my home at 2:20 in the morning with no means of transportation. it could have been worse, I could have been somewhere other than on the beach, I could have been sober, and I might not have had a knight in shining armor named Clay to save me.
and as He drove me home (an hour and a half out of his way), I couldn’t help but run my fingers through his hair, it was an uncontrollable impulse, like the urge to drag your fingers deep into the wet sand. I told Him I was just trying to keep Him awake for the drive.
it’s almost better if I never see Him again. then I can always think of Him this way.