I pulled the wool blanket tighter around me and sighed. My breath swirled and pushed into your chiseled features.
You smiled at me, flashing perfect dimples.
The air was dry and cold, in the most refreshing and cleansing way. I felt it all the way through my bones like a dream catcher, taking all the nightmares away. I tuned into the gentle swaying of the ship and nuzzled my head into your shoulder, where it fit perfectly. You kissed my forehead. You had surprisingly gentle lips... for a guy.
"Look up at the stars, Naomi," you whispered into my hair.
I looked up and saw dark night sky, covered in clouds. I laughed and pushed you a little bit. You smiled wider and pushed me back. Things are so easy with you, as a friend. It was worth all the stress of getting to this point. Despite the fact that you broke my heart countless times... But I wasn't in the mood to sit around and talk some more about our feelings. I would much rather run away from them all. Literally.
I detached myself from you (slightly unwillingly) and stood up. I put my hand out to you, inviting you to come along. You looked at me and raised your eyebrows, but before our skin could make contact, I was off.
My bare feet sank into wet ground in the pool areas. It was green and fuzzy. My toes were numb by now, but that didn't bother me. I was on a mission. Which was of course the same mission as it usually is; run until I fall off the edge. I twisted my head around to see how far behind you were, and shrieked when you flashed by me, grabbing my hand and pulling me along.
I was fast. You've always been faster.
Soon we were outside again, near the rear of the ship. You slowed down, but didn't let go. I slid my other hand along the railing, the only thing separating us from the frigid ocean. Though it was nighttime, I could see a faint outline of the Alaskan mountains. I leaned over the edge and watched the water splashing around the massive boat.
I felt your arms wrap around my stomach and your nose against my neck. The body heat was much welcomed. Cold as I was, I wouldn't have gone inside. This was one of the moments that I wanted to stretch as thin as possible
I turned around so I was facing you and leaning against the metal bars.
"Its windy," I giggled as my hair spread across my face, blinding me.
"I'll protect you." You put your forehead against mine and stared straight into my eyes.
Unwavering, strong. You didn't sway even in the harshest conditions.
My smile loosened. "I know. You always do."
You kissed the corner of my mouth. "Smile my dear, or the sun might not come up."
How could I not smile at that? I leaned my head against your chest and listened to your heartbeat. Steady, consistent. Real, alive.
I looked up at you, tears brimming. "I thought you would be gone by now." Like last time. And the time before that. My mouth barely opened to let the words pass.
"I noticed something. Anywhere else that I end up going is never better than this."
"What is 'this' that you're referring to?" To be honest, I didn't want to know the answer to this question. Sometimes things just slip.
"Being with you. Being right here right now, and not five days from now in a whole new place. This is what I need."
What about what I need? What about how you can't stand for me to let you go, but won't let me have you either? You can only hand me the same half-assed love so many times.
You leaned in for a kiss, because that's how these things sort themselves out. I stood in cold silence, because that's the kind of person I am.
The wind kept blowing and I heard it rush past my ears. The waves kept crashing and spraying against the ship. Inside, doors might close and open. A young woman might walk in an elevator and try to remember what floor their room is on. Cooks might be preparing for breakfast in a couple hours. I might be stuck here, at a loss for words or actions. Confused, worn out, and homesick, I fall into your arms.
Just like last time.