We spend our last days in Miami, in a tiny art nouveau hotel with no airconditioning, which I loved because it meant we had to go to the ocean to cool off. I got stung by the octupi that were thrown against the sand the first day we were there. We knew they were there, people were avoiding the water, but the sea was so blue that I could not help myself and I found myself surrounded by water and stingy sea creatures, salt on my lips, my friends safe on the shore, his eyes on my face.
We returned later that day, after the sun had already left and we had been drinking. It was just the three of us. Me, my ex lover and one of his friends. We smoked a cigar together, a proper Cuban one, accompanied by a bottle of cheap American whiskey. He was so close that I felt the warmth of his skin without actually touching it. No one said anything when his friend got up and wandered away to the shoreline. We watched him, struggling, contemplating, quarter life crisis.
I dug my feet in the sand. My ex lover’s hand appeared on my knee and I stared at it while I choked on the familiarity of his touch. I had missed him more than I realized.
I told myself I didn’t believe in regret, I was a terrible liar.
I liked this version of him, the boy that had conquered the mountain and descended a man, carefree at last, for now anyway. He seemed happy and sad at the same time.
I didn’t have the guts to look at him.
“I still love you.” It sounded like a poem. His hand burned a hole in my knee until I finally took it in mine. The waves were crashing, his friend was still contemplating, Miami was shining in the distance.
The Silver Beach is the last part of a small series of travel stories Rebecca Rijsdijk wrote and photographed on a roadtrip accross the United States of America and published in a little zine called ‘A Man Went up the Mountain.’