I look down to confirm and we both laugh.
He puts his hand on my bare waist. “You’re all the good things wrapped into one good thing.”
“Um, you too,” I say, inarticulate. All the words in my head have been replaced with one—Olly.
He pulls his T-shirt off over his head and my body takes over my brain. I run my fingertips over the smooth hard muscles of his chest, dip them into the valleys between them. My lips follow the same path, tasting, caressing. He lies back and keeps himself still, letting me explore, and I kiss my way across the landscape of him down to his toes and back up again. The urge to bite him is irresistible and I don’t resist it. The bite pushes him over the edge and he takes charge. My body burns where he doesn’t touch, and burns where he does.
We gather each other up. We are lips and arms and legs and bodies entangled. He raises himself above me and we are wordless, and then we are joined and moving silently. We are joined and I know all of the secrets of the universe.
in•fi•nite (ˈinfənit) adj. 1. The state of not knowing where one body ends and another begins: Our joy is infinite. [2015, Whittier]
The Observable World
According to the Big Bang theory, the universe came into being in one single moment—a cosmic cataclysm that gave birth to black holes, brown dwarfs, matter and dark matter, energy and dark energy. It gave birth to galaxies and stars and moons and suns and planets and oceans. It’s a hard concept to hold on to—the idea that there was a time before us. A time before time.
In the beginning there was nothing. And then there was everything.
Olly smiles. He will not stop smiling. He gives me every variation of smile that there is and I have to kiss his smiling lips. One kiss leads to ten until our kissing is interrupted by the sound of Olly’s stomach growling.
I break our kiss. “I guess we should eat something.”
“Besides you?” He kisses my bottom lip and then bites it gently. “You are delicious, but inedible.”
I sit up, holding the blanket to my chest. I’m not quite ready to be naked again despite our intimacy. Unlike me, Olly’s not feeling at all shy. He’s out of bed in a single movement and moves about the room completely naked. I lean back against the headboard and simply watch him move, all grace and light. No dark angel of death now.
Everything’s different and the same. I’m still Maddy. Olly’s still Olly. But we’re both more somehow. I know him in a new way. And I feel known, too.
The restaurant sits right on the beach and our table faces the ocean. It’s late—9 p.m.—so we can’t really see the blue of the water, just the whitecaps of the waves as they crash against the beach. We hear it just beneath the music and chatter all around us.
“Think they have humuhumu on the menumenu?” Olly teases. He jokes that he wants to eat all the fish that we saw while snorkeling.
“I’m going to guess that they don’t serve the state fish,” I say.
We’re both starving from all the activity of the day, so we order every appetizer on the menu: poke (tuna marinated in soy sauce), crab cakes, coconut shrimp, lobster pot stickers, and Kalua pork. We don’t stop touching for the entire meal. We touch in between bites of food and sips of pineapple juice. He touches the side of my neck, my cheek, my lips. I touch his fingers, his forearms, his chest. Now that we’ve touched so intimately, we can’t stop.
We move the chairs so that we’re sitting right next to each other. He holds my hand in his lap or I hold his in mine. We look at each other and laugh for no reason. Or, not for no reason, but because the world just then seems extraordinary. For us to have met, to have fallen in love, to get to be together is beyond anything either of us had ever thought possible.
Olly orders us a second helping of lobster pot stickers. “You make me very hungry,” he croons, eyebrows waggling. He touches my cheek and I blush into his hands. We eat this plate more slowly. It’s our last. Maybe if we just sit here, if we don’t acknowledge that time is passing, then this too-perfect day won’t have to end.
As we leave the waitress tells us to come back and visit again soon, and Olly promises that we will.
We head away from the lights of the restaurant and toward the darkened beach. Above the clouds have hidden the moon. We slip off our sandals, walk close to the water’s edge, and sink our toes into the cooling sand. Nighttime waves crash mightier and louder than daytime ones. The further we walk, the fewer people we see, until it begins to feel as though we’ve left civilization behind. Olly steers us to dry sand and we find a place to sit.