The warm musty air sank around us. The bed, hard and unwelcoming, pressed up against our backs like a stiff board. Earlier in the evening, I had pushed back the white linen curtains that billowed out towards me. It almost seemed as if they were reaching out for my hand pulling me out into the air that mixed with the sea beneath it. I leaned up against the wooden bed frame bought for its weathered appearance but worn down by the ocean air. My brother and I seemed to talk about everything. Our conversations dissipating into laughter filling the room with the connection we had seemed to have forgotten in the snow of the colder months. I leaned myself over the width of the bed checking the time that blinked in bright red. 4:30. The hushed tones of the early morning breeze called me down to the beach. My brother and I lazily pushed ourselves off the mattress supporting us and giggled out of the room and down the stone spiral staircase.
Leaving our shoes behind, we slithered out of the sliding screen door that leads out to the splintered green porch worn away by the same air that had aged the wooden bed we had once laid in. My brother was much timider than I. Not keen on breaking rules or sneaking out. But he padded through the bright green grass of the back lawn, drizzled with morning dew behind me. His small feet leaving the same faint indent as mine, holding their own against the will of the blades of grass straining to resist the force that pushed them down. Upon reaching the gate that matched the color of the porch at the edge of the driveway we squeezed ourselves into the gap as to not alarm our sleeping parents with the abrupt whine of the electric exit becoming ajar. The red tip of the sun peeked its way over the top of the skyline as we felt our way down the steps that clung to the shifting sandbanks that held up the houses above. The morning air was still cool.
We dragged our way down to the waves that crashed in and retreated back out to deeper waters. We sat down. Finding our place amongst the dried out strips of seaweed and the crustacean armor long forgotten. He stared out at the empty water gleaming with the renewed sunlight that brushed its surface. I wondered what he was looking for. He turned to me and smiled. “I missed you, I missed this.” he looked around again. His eyes followed an unfamiliar bird that landed against a fleeting sandbank. Its twig-like legs wavered a bit in the wind but all and all stayed planted in the wet saturated sand and held its somehow proportionate body up despite their questionable strength. It bobbed its head down to the water and back up again at the sky as if nodding. “I’m sorry.” I tried. I meant it. He turned the other way and laughed into the swirls of sand among the air surrounding us.
He shifted in his seated position, reaching into his pocket and pulling from it his phone. The sky had become a soft blue with a blush rose and hints of leftover orange absorbing the scenery like watercolor on a canvas. He pressed the red button on the small screen starting the video and swiveled the camera around to the bird and then to me. I waved and smiled and he laughed and ended the short film. “I want to remember this, how everything is right now.” He looked at me again this time a smile filled his face. He shoved me playfully and stood up. Brushing cool sand from his bare legs and navy shorts. I chuckled and watched as he jogged down to ankle deep water and plunged his hand down pulling up saucers that he skipped on top of the surface of the now light blue waves glistening with the sun's reflection.
The rock bounced as if unsinkable until it disappeared into open sea. I got up and joined him. There we were skipping rocks in a moment in which we both wished would last forever. And as the dawn turned to day and the night long passed away, we collected our shoes and made our return back up the sandbanks and the staircase that held onto it squeezed through the unopened gate and tiptoed back across the grass and as if in reverse. We slipped into the house, still asleep in the early hours of the morning, as if time had stopped just for us. It was over then as he went left into his room and I went right into mine but in that moment knew I would never forget the time we spent by the edge of the ocean.