Liam was on the couch watching the game so after setting the washing going I poured myself a glass of wine, grabbed a couple more beers from the fridge and went in to join him.
“Ugh, down by 16 already?!” I remarked as I placed the beers on the coffee table in front of Liam. “Yeah”, he replied, “Including a safety and a TD interception. They need to make some changes in that team, and fast, or this season will over before half way.”
I settled down next to him on the couch and we snuggled up close, as we always do. The game barely improved and we were still 13 down at the half.
During half time we snuggled and kissed a little, and then Liam suddenly said, “You know, we could do with a break …what say we go down to the Cape one weekend soon? Take the little fella along to see where it all started, huh?”
The Cape was the first chance we’d had to take a holiday together. So much upheaval, and Liam had used all his annual leave and more just so he could be with me and look after me, so he hadn’t even been able to take time off work for us to have a honeymoon when we married.
Our belated honeymoon had still been glorious. The weather had been perfect on the Cape, warm and sunny but with just a touch of haze to dissipate the strength of the sun, and the little breeze there was had been from off the sea. Just perfect.
We’d explored all along the coastline by car, taking short walks when the opportunity arose. Despite the holiday season not being fully over most of the beaches had been deserted so there had been plenty of opportunities for us to change into our swimming gear and play around in the sea. I loved that freedom; it had been a long time coming. In a way it had drawn a line under everything that had gone before, although as it turned out there was still one more chapter to be written.
Quite often after a day of exploring I would be exhausted and would need a nap as soon as we found somewhere to stay for the night. So, many times we were the last ones to arrive at a restaurant and would get slightly disapproving looks from the staff, or we would need to find an eatery that was open 24/7. We didn’t mind though. We had both proven that we were adaptable enough to take little things like that in our stride, and the important thing was that we had reached the point where our lives together could take on some semblance of normality.
One day we spotted a small, isolated car park with a planked walkway leading down to a quiet little cove and so we pulled in. I’ll never forget that day and I know Liam never will.
We donned our baseball caps, grabbed our picnic bag, blanket, towels and swimwear and meandered down to the shore with our arms around each other. The sand was perfect; warm, and so fine that the occasional trace of webbed footprints were almost obliterated by even the faintest of breezes.
We laid everything out at the edge of a small, grassy topped bank of sand and changed into our swimming gear. The water was sublimely warm, clear as day, and we paddled, swam, floated and embraced each other as if we were the only two people alive. So caught up in the moment were we that it was some time before either of us spotted a small beach hut down at the end of the cove.
Liam noticed it first. “Ooooo!”, he exclaimed, eyes suddenly widening when he spotted it over my shoulder as we embraced in the water. “Fancy an explore?”.
We splashed each other like children as we made our way back out of the water and up the beach to our belongings, our gigglings lost without echo on that submissive sand.
With everything repacked we ambled along the beach together making up stories about the owners of the hut, everything from the simplest “It belongs to Beth and Sam from just over the hill, and they only come down here at weekends with the grandchildren”, to “A pirate buried some treasure there centuries ago, built a shack over it to mark the spot, and his descendants have been demolishing the old one and building a new one every generation, just so they can take a little bit of the treasure at a time.”
The hut was simple but in remarkably good condition. Maybe some treasure had been dug just that very year?
We laid out our blanket inside it and settled down to our picnic lunch in the welcome shade. No matter what food we had packed, that day it was corned beef and pickle sandwiches, we always took a bottle of non-alcoholic wine with us too and one of us would “propose a toast” over lunch.
Sitting on our blanket, propped up against the wall of the hut, Liam said “Today is my turn”.
He turned slightly and gestured for us to link our arms as we held the glasses between us and then, looking closely and directly into my eyes, he said “To you, my love. The most perfect wife any man could wish for. You have given me everything I ever desired.”
As I fell against him to hug him our glasses came off second best and the wine spilled everywhere, but neither of us cared as we held each other tightly in a seemingly endless embrace.
When we finally released each other we refilled the glasses and slowly ate our sandwiches, holding hands, touching softly, each in turn with an arm around the other.
Slowly we found ourselves becoming more horizontal until we were each propped up on one elbow and with our other arms holding each other as our kisses became more frequent and more prolonged. By this time there was silence, apart from the distant lap-lapping of the gentle waves on the shore.
Eventually, his face almost touching mine, I saw Liam’s eyes widen slightly for a moment in that “Shall we?” look. I responded after almost no thought with a similar widening and, I’m sure, a sparkle of my own.
I hurriedly grabbed for the towels and bundled them up into a makeshift pillow, Liam pulling the tie of my bikini top as I reached over for them. As I repositioned myself for comfort he was already caressing me like an octopus, his hands seemed to be everywhere as he lowered his face below my belly and began removing the bikini bottom with his teeth. “Mmmmmm, you’re going to taste like wine!” he exclaimed.
Neither of us gave any consideration as to whether or not we were still alone on the beach that afternoon; our passion was too intense, too immediate, and too overwhelming.
As we lay there in each others’ arms, breathless and with the perspiration soaking through the towel onto the boards below, we knew we had discovered a place that would live in our memories for all time.
We both slept, naked and entwined.
When I awoke Liam hadn’t moved. He was already awake but was just staring up at me, motionless. Then he smiled slowly and reached his head the short distance to mine as he kissed me so tenderly, but I saw a glimmer of some restfulness in his face, and I knew what was tormenting him. In the now dimming and reddening light I thought I detected the trace of a dried tear on his face.
After a moment I whispered, “I know darling. They can do so much these days. They can allow me to be your wife, but that’s one thing even the best surgeons can’t do.”
We gazed deep into each others’ souls for a few more moments before I added, “But we could always adopt …”
© Tish Wolfsong 2015