I watch the waves and think about how they have a life of their own, I imagine they are creatures trying to swallow me in.
“Do you think it’s exciting”, I ask, “to know that the tide can get to us at any minute and yet still sit here and take that risk?”
He ponders the question for a bit and says “Yeah, I think so. It is kinda exciting. Why do you ask?”
I take another sip of wine from the plastic cup, keeping my gaze on the approaching waves.
“I think that’s what having an affair feels like. You know it’s going to end, but you don’t know exactly when. Every moment feels like a stolen moment and it’s thrilling.”
“Is that why people do it? For the thrill?”
“Why did you come here to this beach tonight?”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“Well, did you come here because it’s thrilling to anticipate when the tide will come in?”
“So, not for the thrill. In fact I bet you weren’t even thinking about waves or tide when you planned to come here.”
“Yeah you’re right. I wasn’t thinking about that at all. I was just thinking it’s a beautiful place, and I wanted to spend time with you here.”
“I guess you’ve answered your own question then.”
“Do you regret it?”
“Hmm. I don’t really think of life in terms of regret.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I believe things happen as they’re meant to happen. In a way, you could say I believe everything that has happened and is happening is perfect. So I never feel a need to go back and change things.”
“That’s an interesting way to look at it. What about karma? Do you believe in that?”
“Maybe I do, although I think it’s a bit like how I feel about ghosts. I don’t particularly believe in ghosts, and I surely don’t want to see one, but I’m scared of them. I guess that’s how I feel about karma.”
I continue watching the waves, but I sense him staring at me intently. I turn to face him.
“You know what I find really funny?”, I say
“What?” he asks
“Here we are on a secluded beach. Any other guy would be trying to get into my pants. And here you are asking me all these questions”
He laughs. “Well, you intrigue me. How do I put this? Ok. Do you prefer sitting by the lake, or by the sea?”
I give it some thought. “I suppose I can sit by the lake if I have a book to read, or if there’s a picnic. But generally I would prefer the sea. Why do you ask?”
“Yeah, I figured you would say that. See, the girls I’ve dated – they’re like the lake. I enjoy them in small doses but then I get really bored, and like you, I’d need to have something else to do. But you, Yumi, you’re like the sea. The depth. The mystery. The unpredictability – not knowing when the waves will crash and how big the next one will be. I can sit and watch the sea all day and be intrigued and stupefied by it.”
He pauses as though to wait for a response. I don’t say anything.
“That’s why I would rather sit here and listen to you talk, than be in bed with you. I can get sex easily. I don’t crave it. This, right here, this is what I crave”.
I nod. “The thing about the sea”, I say, “is its power to destroy. It can swallow you into a vacuum. I guess you’ve already thought about that in making the comparison to me”
He chuckles. “I know the risk, Yumi. And to that, I say let’s surf!”
He manages to draw a faint smile out of me.
We sit in silence, and I let my thoughts wander. A part of me wonders what it would be like it we were destined to be together. Another part of me wanted to laugh at that thought. There’s a restlessness in me that can’t be tamed by one man. I guess I am like the sea in that way. Sometimes I think about living a normal life. But then there’s a voice inside me – it’s the voice that’s been around for as long as I can remember – and it wants to be free. It wants to see, touch, feel, experience. Besides, what’s normal these days anyways?
“Do you ever feel guilty?”, the question jerks me out of my thoughts.
“I think deep down on a subconscious level I probably do. But I suppose I don’t really allow it to surface. I think I mostly feel free. Like I am in a bubble – separate from everything else in the world. Like I’ve reached a place that would forever distance me from life and everything in it…”
“Your very own bubble in the waves”, he concludes.
He plants a gentle kiss on my forehead.
“It’s late. I guess we better get you back before your husband gets home.”