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Alone on the Beach


Alone on the Beach {Redman} {MF Rom}
(c) October 2000

Author's Note: I am always interested in comments or
suggestions that might improve my stories. I can be
reached at
Alone on the Beach
"Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night."

-Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)
The waves lapped against the rocky shore. I huddled
in my pea coat as the cool night wind sliced through
me. The tide has come in full and the cadence of the
small waves breaking against the beach is that of a
funereal march. If I hadn't been sad already, I might
have become so from just listening to it.

The moon is waning, though still near three-
quarters. It still hangs high in the night sky, though
its sure descent seems to pace my mood.

Why did she have to leave? Alexis was always
looking for something better - something more. There
had been so many good times, but still she had heard
the lure of Chicago.

I picked up a stone as big as my fist and hurled it
into the wind. When it fell, the sound on the water
came back to me like a memory.

"Stay here, Lexi," I had told her right before she
had left. "We can get married, raise a family right
here on the coast where we grew up."

"Jason, I've lived here all my life. Don't you ever
feel like you just need to get out of this little town
and see the rest of the world? Don't you ever want
travel and adventure?"

"The only thing I want to see is you for the rest
of my life. Life's enough of an adventure for me,
babe. I don't need to go off and search for excitement
when I have you."

"Jason, I'm probably going to take my Aunt's offer
and go to school in Chicago. It's not 'cause I don't
love you. I do. There's just so much more to see."

It had been right here on this beach. I had held
her close, but it hadn't been cold then. It was a late
summer's night. I tried everything I could think of to
convince her not to go.

I know now that she had already made up her mind,
but she allowed me to coax her up into the woods
beyond the beach and we made love one last time just
under that stand of trees. We had been lovers for a
long time by then, having learned from each other the
mysteries of pleasing one another.

But that night had been different. When I had tried
to kiss her, she buried her head into my neck and
shoulders. She drew my hand between her legs. As I
slipped my fingers under the legs of her panties, she
clung to me ominously. I had barely begun to rock
against her, to rub her clit with my thumb through the
nylon fabric, and she was already cumming.

Even after we had finished disrobing and she had
pulled me on top of her, it was more strained that
usual. She still hid her face from me, holding me
against her forcefully as she panted into my ear.
There was a desperation to our coupling, a despondency
that seemed to be the first stage of grief.

Afterward, I lay back and watched her as she
dressed. She waved goodbye quickly and yelled back
that she'd call me the next day. Somehow I could just
tell she wouldn't. In her mind, she was already gone.
It was the first time in my life that I had fucked a

The grating of the pebbles as the waves flowed back
and forth brought me back to the present. It wasn't as
though all the years in between had been a total loss.
I had had books published. I had enough money now to
buy the beach were Alexis and I had played as children
and made love as teenagers. I had built the house for
myself that I had wanted to build for the two of us.

There had been other women as well. A successful
author on tour is usually only as lonely as he wants
to be. There were the women fans that wrote, those
that wanted interviews and those in the bookstores
where I signed a personal greeting for each copy sold.

There was even the longer, more protracted romance
with Margaret. We had come close to setting a date
several times, but in the end I couldn't be dishonest
with her or to myself.

I found myself always measuring her to Alexis. I
knew it wasn't fair even when I was comparing them.
Margaret never stood a chance. In my memories, Alexis
is always fifteen, sixteen or eighteen. Her breasts
are always firm and tender; her lips always warm and
moist. It was Alexis that I entered every time that I
closed my eyes when Margaret and I made love. It was
her palm I kissed as we both panted afterward.

I picked up another, larger stone and threw it even
farther into the teeth of the wind. It felt good to be
in motion, even as the sound came back to me on the

Alexis had come back briefly, five years ago. I was
pushing a basket on aisle ten near the cans of sliced
pineapple and suddenly there she was. She was shopping
herself and just bending to get a jar of pickles when
I saw her.

It had been fifteen years, but I would have known
her anywhere. She had the same brown hair, though now
it was curled and styled. She had the same nose, the
same chin, and the same ears. As she went to
straighten up, she brushed her hair back from her face
with the same back-of-the-hand gesture. I saw the ring
on her left hand when she did it. I had heard she had
gotten married.

When she caught me staring at her, she was startled
with recognition. We were both so taken aback by the
suddenness of it that neither really knew how to
react, but Alexis gathered her whit's quicker and got
us through it. Just as in our first tentative
explorations into sexuality, Alexis always seemed to
take the lead on unfamiliar ground.

She was no longer the slim, nineteen-year old that
had left me that night. Her body had matured - her
hips were wider, her breasts larger - but she was
still beautiful. We talked for thirty minutes. We went
to get coffee and talked an hour more.

She was married, but was considering ending it.
That's what she was doing back home. She had been here
for almost a week. I didn't ask why she didn't call
me, then or now. She didn't offer an explanation.

She said she had read my books, trying to keep up
with my work. "It's strange reading your words like
that. I can almost hear your voice as I read them."

I started to tell her that I had been hearing her
voice for the last fifteen years telling me she would
call me the next day. I had been smelling her skin and
tasting her lips in my dreams every night since then.
Instead, I told her that I hoped that she had liked

My parents had died during that fifteen years and
at that time I was living in their/our old home. I
invited her back for even more coffee and the implied
promise of whatever more she was willing to share.
Alexis said that she had to get back to her parent's
house. They were still expecting her to return with

I offered to make her dinner the next night and she
tried to offer an excuse. When I became insistent, she
agreed to go to a restaurant with me. We decided I
would pick her up at seven o'clock. As she rose to
leave, I told her how good it was to see her again.

When I arrived at her house at seven the next day,
her mother told me that Alexis had returned to Atlanta
that morning. Last night, after she had gotten home,
her husband had called and they had had a long phone
conversation. They wanted to try to reconcile. I
didn't even know she had moved to Atlanta.

I picked up stone after stone, hurling them into
the wind. Without even bothering to listen as each one
fell, I threw another. Why did she have to go? I threw
another and another! What did she want to find that I
couldn't give her? Another and another!

But after my arms grew tired, I gave up. There were
no answers to any of my questions. Now, there would
never be answers.

The beach held an infinite supply of stones, but no
explanations. Even the stones I threw out tonight
would wind up back on the beach eventually.

I sat back on my heels, huddling in my pea coat,
listening to the lapping of the waves along the shore.
They seemed to mourn for her, just as I did.

For the hundredth time since I clipped it
yesterday, I pulled the article from my pocket. The
waning moon was much closer to the horizon now, but
even in its fading light I could read the stark
headline: "Local Woman Dies in Dallas Crash." I didn't
even know she had moved to Dallas. Or about her two
children that died with her.

There were too many rocks to clear the beach
tonight. I could either work myself into a frenzy
every night, or I could write the story that I had
always wanted to write. It had changed over the years,
but it was so clear to me.

I already knew how it would start:

"He looked up and there she was, illuminated by
the moon against the starry sky, her cotton dress
blowing behind her in the sea breeze. After all
these years, the image of her still touched him.
He sees her nod with her head and walk off into
the woods and knows just where to find her.

There in the woods they renew their vows again,
just as they did every time.

"I will take you for better or worse." They
embrace, his fingers running through her long,
thick hair.

"I will take you for richer or poorer." He kisses
his way down her body.

"I will take you in sickness and in health." He
presses his body down on hers, filling her and
being filled.

"Until death do us part."

Even beyond death, Alexis. What does death or
disappointments mean when my pen writes our story?


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