On your 30th birthday, you returned to alabaster sands, turquoise seas, and unending skies of cornflower blue. The island of your birth finally welcomed you home. The warm Caribbean breeze intoxicated your senses.
Last night, you ate flying fish and roasted breadfruit. You laughed at your lover’s joke spewing half-chewed breadfruit onto the table and into your lap. He laughed at the mess, then brushed the mush from your lips. He kissed you with the kind of kiss that told you there was more to come… much more.
This morning, breakfast on the beach was followed by a dip in the sea. Reaching for a towel, you were pulled into tanned, muscular arms that wrapped themselves around you; it was a seamless fit no matter how wet you were. You smiled, torn between which you loved more: being held in his arms under the warm morning sun or the heat of his kisses on your neck as he held you tightly. There was no loser in this scenario, every option was a win.
Your lover asked if you were up for one last swim before heading out for some sightseeing around town, and you answered yes. Hand in hand, you both strolled toward that tranquil sea, not noticing the change—a slight shift of nature—in the water.
Eyes were on the both of you from the moment of your arrival to the hotel. The stares went unnoticed as you joked, embraced, and kissed. Nothing was stated above a whisper, but much had been said. “What an abomination against God. They should all die.” You knew the old-fashioned beliefs of island people. They did not understand a man loving another man. You were in your own private heaven; in that moment, you did not care what they believed. All that mattered was that you were loved and in love. They watched as you two held hands and walked toward the ocean.
Your thoughts were on him as the waves pulled at you. You wished you were still being held in his arms. Instead, you were gripped by warm seawater that refused to let you go. You tried to swim toward the shore, but were tossed back and forth like a rag doll in the jaws of a great white shark. Twisting, turning, your every scream was met with mouthfuls of water. Invisible hands pinned you down, imprisoning you in your slice of heaven. Your lover shared the same fate, meters from you.
In a disjointed dance, arms and legs thrashed about the turquoise waters. The hotel workers watched as the couple struggled in the waves, their bodies being pulled under by a strong, rapid current. No one yelled for the lifeguard. No one ran toward the sea. Some turned and walked away while others stood transfixed, muttering, “This is punishment from God.”
On your 30th birthday, you returned to alabaster sands, turquoise seas, and unending skies of cornflower blue. The island of your birth finally welcomed you home.
Arlene Antoinette is a novice writer who enjoys her ongoing battle with words. Her poetry may be found in the following publications: Sick Lit Magazine and GIRLSENSE AND NONSENSE.