Afraid to Go Back There

I booked the nicest suite in the hotel by the beach. I lit the tea light candles around the room and made it into our oasis. I got caught in a rainstorm with you and had to run through it in sandals so we could crawl back under the covers and spend the night accompanied by the flicker of candlelight and your skin against mine. I studied the art murals. Okay, that’s a lie. I studied you while you studied the art. I watched as your face lit up on the boardwalk. I shared my ice cream and admired the smile on your face as you finished the cone. I traded in our ski ball tokens for matching candy bracelets. I braved the ocean to chase you to the ends of the earth. I smiled as we downed our third round of cocktails on the sand. I sipped frosé until I lost all inhibitions and turned into a sexual deviant. I watched as you admired each freckle on my sun-kissed skin, wishing you would reach down and press your lips to each one that swept over my chest. I laughed as you admired my curls from the salty air. I whispered I love you for the first time. And then I said it again. I giggled as you did a happy dance reading the dinner menu each night. I (poorly) resisted the urge to keep my hands off of you at the dinner table. I flashed my camera as you took your first bite, white wine draped between your fingertips. I captured the moment of you, peering into the sunset and taking a picture of the way it set over the lake with the American flag waving in the wind. I set the picture as my phone wallpaper. I interlaced your fingers in mine as we explored the town. I nibbled on hash browns after you took a picture with your first Dunkin’ donut. I giggled like a child when you whispered, “thank you,” each time I pressed a soft kiss to your forehead. I smiled for bathroom photo shoots. I felt the safety of your arms around me as you clung to me in the pool. I fell in love. Over and over again. Harder than ever. With no way of resurfacing for air.

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