She did not feel the water's cold touch.
Through her thin white dress, it caressed her skin.
It lapped at her lips, held loose to her hand, and flowed around her feet.
She waited in its embrace as the unglaring sun hung in the layer up above.
In her ears, the echoes of longing lingered in the fading orbit of memory.
Here below, beneath the clawing undertows of the tide, beneath the terrors of aquatic suffocation
She would commune with him again, at this space at the edge of the world.
It was 3 AM when she received the call.
A night out on the town with his buddies, a break from both of their insecurities, a pause to reassemble the broken pieces of connection.
One drunk driver, so paranoid in his depravity that he could not see, drove into the crowd leaving the club.
"We found your phone number in his wallet," said the robotic voice. "We want you to come over to identify the body."
The deluge rushed in her, beating against the walls of her weakening heart.
It continued that torrent as she rode in the interminable cab ride to the morgue.
She couldn't hear, she couldn't think, she couldn't feel.
Nothing lasts forever, her mother told her. She thought she understood.
But it was too soon. Too soon to let go of their once perfect moment.
11 AM. Back at home. The flood in her head is gone, replaced with images of skin and hair and bones and blood.
He was not there. Only the body, in immutable stone.
She sat in the bathtub, in her clothes and in her emptiness.
She turned the faucet and left it on cold.
"Wait," she cried, as her lips sunk below the surface, barely breaking the tension.
And here in this sad, lonely limbo, she would tell him to hold on a little while longer. Hold on before she forgot him.
This still lake coalesced into nothingness, a space where they could wait until they were ready to move on.
No pale horses, no disease-eaten skulls, no destructive flaring passions,
Just the vast unending ocean of peace.
She found him there, sitting with his feet sunk into the muddy bottom.
Blood stained his wrinkled blue shirt, scars from the street tore at his jeans, his shoes laid haphazardly in the murky mess.
Her hands brushed his dark hair that hung past his ears, her lips moved softly on the painful gash on his cheek.
His grey eyes searched into hers, and their connection ignited the amniotic atmosphere around them.
"Hold on," she whispered into his torn ear.
They held, for an eternity that ended too soon.
"You must return," he said. "Or both of us will be forgotten."
The memories of what could have been swirled in her breast: the laughing in bed, the empty silences after a fight, the grateful squeal of a small child,
and their hands crossed over in a dying candle light.
She understood and let him go wordlessly, as they both moved away from the space between.
Her eyes lingered on his vanishing form as her head breached the surface.