tagErotic CouplingsThe Warm Caress of the Ocean Tide

The Warm Caress of the Ocean Tide


A memory from long ago, but still fresh and alive....

There is something pure and powerful about the pounding surf. An ancient call for peace and reflection; a symbol of mystery and adventure.

As a child, I spent many summer weeks scouring the ocean sands. Exploring, building, learning, finding. Only to bear eventual witness to the destruction of the tides, which wiped clean all evidence of my creations. And so, once, it shall be with me....

What will I leave behind? What memories will I take?

I love my wife. She is a good, decent person. But...we have grown apart.

Marriage is hard. We enter into lifelong commitments, cemented by the onset of children. But people change. As do our tastes, our styles, our goals, our wants.

I don't wish to dwell on it, but the athletic, relaxed girl I met in college has evolved into an overweight, overstressed, overworked corporate manager, holding down a job that demands her attention 12 hours daily. She doesn't want those things, but it's hard to change.

We have been going through a difficult period of late. Please don't get me wrong: I am not looking, and will not look for, another woman. I have all that I need in life: A perfect home, perfect children, a perfect job, and a loving wife. The latter is not now perfect, but I truly believe that all things revolve and change and that--one day--she will again be the right woman for me. I see that in her. The potential. The original spark.

But...the difficulties.... Have you ever once needed an escape?

In such times, I have always run back to the ocean. The reasons are purely emotional: Leftover feelings from childhood. The thrill of discovery, the thirst for adventure, and the enchantment of possibility.

And so the arrangements were made. But--this year--it was not a vacation for all of us. My wife had an impending project and constant calls. They would not leave her alone. And she could not leave them alone. I understood, but I didn't like it.

Most mornings, on the beach, it was only the three kids and I. In the afternoon, the same. Alone.

I felt depressed. Even the excited squeals of my children could not rise me from my chair. A sick foreboding chill churned through my body. I felt the end near. I needed release. To laugh. To smile. To feel exaltation.

And then a pleasant voice, and light conversation.

It took a few moments before I realized that I had spoken briefly with her the day before. Perhaps you as well have had those inattentive conversations. You speak with someone, but your mind races elsewhere: the conversation unimportant.

The day before, as our children played, we did have a passing conversation from one blanket station to another. But I honestly could neither remember the questions asked nor the answers given. Surely it involved names, homes, children's ages, hotels, etc. The usual generic vacationers' chat.

But now she had my full attention.

(I completely understand why, in traditional Islamic culture, women's bodies are hidden. The moment that I see even a hint of a woman's cleavage, she becomes a sexual object to me.)

And so, Andrea became a known figure to me as she leaned over towards me from her nearby chair, slightly exposing the top half of her ample bosom. I smiled at her as I peeked from behind my sunglasses. I wanted to impress her, and I felt a pleasing surge of energy

Conversation drifted from children to spouses. She had a quick, sarcastic wit. I found myself laughing. And my jokes seemed just as funny to her. I felt a mutual like.

We talked and talked as our children played..

An hour later, she brought up her missing husband, who was at work in the rented house. Two full days into their family vacation and he had only briefly walked down to the beach on a single occasion. I could hear the distaste in her voice and recognized our common pain.

It had been only been a brief matter of time, but I felt that I knew her. (Had I always known her?) I felt a unusual comfort.

In the hot sun, slightly buzzed, I took a risk: I opened up to this relative stranger, who listened attentively and shared her own struggles in return. We did share a common experience. Happy yet unhappy. Struggling to balance marriage, love, business, and family. Wondering to ourselves: Is this all there is?

Meanwhile, our kids splashed in the rising tide.

It was Andrea who first stood up.

"Want to throw Frisbee?"

Moments later I desperately dashed through two feet of water before lunging forth and fully extending my body in a vain attempt to catch the falling Frisbee. I belly-flopped into the warm Gulf water, briefly submerging my body. It felt so good. Alive and awakened, I stood up, dripping, found the floating disk, and threw a return strike to Andrea, aiming it slightly out of reach so that she too might fall into the clinging waters.

And so we played. The warm sun. The salty air. The bright glare. The sensuous summer sweat. And the darting children, who screamed excitedly if for no reason other than to express their inner exultations.

I admired Andrea from a distance. She had a nice body: Neither chubby nor thin; the perfect in-between. Full and healthy, with wide hips and an ample bust. Her conservative bathing--save for a slender revelation of cleavage--covered her well, but she filled it nicely. In return, I hoped I pleased her with my athletic body, refined by years and years of early morning runs. It was fun to be attracted to someone. To feel an interest. And I hoped it was mutual.

I had no plans or wishes, mind you. Sometimes it just feels good to know that others find you attractive. We all need that, don't we?

The next day.

I brought my shovel. I always bring a sturdy shovel to the beach. The salty air and wet sand will destroy the metal, but it's a worthy sacrifice, for there is nothing better than to build a seaside sandcastle fit for an imaginary king.

I began to dig a deep, wide moat, piling great heaps of sand in the middle. My three children took to shaping the castle walls. We worked ably as a team.

"Can we help"?

It was Andrea and her two children. For the next hour, the seven of us worked diligently. The final result impresses: The moat, three-feet deep and two-feet wide, circles a broad fortification. The smooth castle walls stand three feet high from the lip of the moat. On top, seven spires--one for each of us--reached to the sky at differing heights. The structure cast a stern, monolithic strength towards the sea, as if challenging the waters to take it down.

The kids danced around it in celebration, believing that it could withstand the coming ocean tide.

"Hey, what have you all built here?"

A strange man. Prematurely balding, white-skinned, and overweight. It is Andrea's husband. There was a quick introduction and small talk. He seems a pleasant man, but he is not dressed for the beach. He has only come down for a quick visit before a critical conference call.

And then, out of nowhere, my wife appeared. A similar story.

The couples chat a bit. Both spouses are quite impressed with our castle. The children excitedly explain to them how it was built. My wife and her husband begin to talk business. They do similar work for dissimilar businesses. A commonality that creates a mutual interest.

Soon they go. Back to their air-conditioned, mobile vacation offices. Ever beholden to the trials and tribulations of corporate life.

Andrea and I decided to talk a walk with the kids while the tide rises. They ran ahead of us, scouring the receding waves for jellyfish, shells, crabs, and other dropped oceanic treasures. We can't really talk, as we are constantly bombarded with questions or discoveries, but it is an idyllic stroll. The sun has begun its descent to the horizon. A thin haze mutes its brightness, allowing some of the color of the beach to return in full. I deeply inhale the salt air, remembering and reliving my own childhood joy through the kids wheeling and sprinting before me.

We return to the castle just as the first fingertips of an incoming wave touch the outer moat. Andrea and I sit in our chairs to watch. The children stand before their kingdom, challenging the waves. Soon, the moat begins to fill.

"Noooo! Nooooo!" Kids scream (playfully, not angrily). They dig their hands into the wet stand, trying to dig new moats to capture the water. But the soft sand slides back in, and the incoming waves remove any trace. For five minutes they fight the coming tide, before recognizing the futility. They quietly come and sit around us, prepared to watch the imminent destruction.

For 15 more minutes, the castle's thick walls survive the gentle caressing of passing waves. But every touch weakens the structure.

We can hear the death wave before we can see it. It's sound is far heavier than the rest. It strikes with a power that cracks the foundation. Sands fall into the water, evaporating into the surge. The two waves that follow finish the job. Only a rounded dome remains.

The kids are silent.

Nothing endures. No matter how badly you hope..

As we left the beach as a group, I looked at Andrea. We hadn't spoken much that day, but I had felt comfort in her presence. It had been a good day. I was glad to have shared it with her.

Andrea seemed a bit nervous on Thursday morning.

"I bought something new, but I'm not sure I like it," she said. "But, I did come here to get a tan." With that, she dropped her cover-up.

I must admit: My mouth dropped open.

Andrea had worn one-piece swimsuits each day that ably covered all but a hint of cleavage. But today? She wore a white bikini, and one that exposed quite a bit of surface area. Only three small triangles of white hid her erogenous zones from me. The sight pleased me immensely, but.... I felt awkward staring, and dropped my eyes. She, too, seemed uncomfortable, and quickly spread out her beach towel, laying face down.

"Sorry," she said, acknowledging our mutual discomfort. "Maybe I should have bought something with a little more coverage. But I thought that this might appeal to you men."

So, it was a recent purchase, I thought. And she knew that I would see? And that it might appeal to me? I decided to take a risk.

"Well, you certainly have nothing to hide! If I looked like you, I would show off. My only concern is that our quiet little beach might become crowded with gawkers, ruining our peaceful solitude."

"Oh...nonsense," she laughed. But I could tell that she was pleased.

Had we just shown mutual interest? The thought excited me. I wanted and expected nothing from Andrea, but to think that this woman that I liked might like me in return was extremely satisfying. Sometimes--just to know that others find you appealing or attractive--is all that it takes to raise one's spirits for months afterwards.

"Hey, would you mind spraying lotion on my back? I can't reach."

"Sure," I said.

I grabbed the spray bottle and bent down. Andrea's bikini exposed half of her backside, which--under gravity's pull--looked firm and well-shaped. I gingerly sprayed her white flesh from head to toe, amused by her tan-lines, which dramatically highlighted how small her current swimsuit was compared to her former ones.

I leaned back in my chair and enjoyed the view, as her head faced away from me.

It's going to be a good day, I thought.

"Mommy! Moooommmmmmyyyy!" Real screams of pain. Andrea's daughter.

Andrea leaped up, and I followed. Her youngest daughter sat in the surf, holding her foot, crimsoned with blood. I could see the gash.

"She's going to need stitches," I said.

I picked her up and carried her towards their beach house as Andrea and the other children hurriedly gathered their things. Minutes later, her family was packed in their car and on the way to an emergency clinic.

I returned to the beach with my children, where we spent the day. My wife joined us in the afternoon. She actually wore her swimsuit and joined the children for wave-jumping. We had a great time, but I felt disappointment that Andrea and her family were not there.

That evening, after dinner, I walked over to their house to check on their daughter. Four stitches, but no real damage or concern. They would all be back down on the beach tomorrow, the last day before heading home. I suggested that our families join together to grill hot dogs and sausages. Quick plans were made and I looked forward to one last day on the beach, hoping that perhaps Andrea would wear her new swimsuit again, and that we would have one last chance to talk..

But that was not to be.

On Friday, it rained. All day. Hard.

We were all depressed. The nearby town had plenty of rainy day activities, but it wasn't the same.

That night, I found myself a bit stressed. It had been a wonderful week, but I found myself...well...incomplete. I had built a friendship with Andrea and her children, but now we were going to be leaving. We hadn't even said goodbye. I wanted to tell her that she had really helped pick my spirits up when I had been feeling down.

Something had to be said.

A bit out of sorts, and feeling agitated, I sought escape.

"I think I'm going to go out for a walk on the beach. OK?"

"Alright," my wife said without enthusiasm. "I'm going to bed."

I grabbed a flashlight as I headed out the door, feeling a sudden, delightful pulse: freedom. As a parent of young children, it's so rare to be alone. To escape responsibility and expectation.

It was only a late evening walk on the beach, but I could direct, dawdle, and dally as I pleased. Fast or slow. Near or far. For me to decide.

I glided through the neighborhood and across the dune bridge. At the base of the steps, I removed my shoes and felt the cool sand grapple at my toes. I could hear the harsh whispering of the ocean surf, but I could not see it in the darkness. Keeping my flashlight dark, I walked towards the tumultuous sounds.

My favorite beach activity as a child: crab-hunting at night. The pointy beasts leave their protective lairs to scour the sands for food. In the dark, a beach-walker has no idea that he or she may be stepping within inches of hardened beasts with sharp claws. In the glare of light, these crabs typically freeze before dashing off in frightened revelation. (There is something hypnotically beautiful about the absurdly grotesque bodies of crabs. Not to mention their silly, frantic movements.)

I can still remember the childhood thrill of finding and chasing crabs with flashlights in the dark. The smell of the salt air. The pounding of the surf. The softness of the sand.

A sensual, visual delight.

I wanted to relive it.

When I felt the sand turned wet, I pointed my flashlight to the ground and turned it on.

Nothing. Only unbroken sand.

I moved the light along the shore. My eye caught a sudden movement. I turned the flashlight in that direction and watched a tiny crab flee towards the darkness. It's silly, frantic appearance made me laugh.

"And what, may I ask, are you doing?"

The stern voice from behind startled me. I turned and shone the light upon a solitary figure.


I could feel my face beaming. "I was hoping to see you one last time."

"I was hoping to see you, too."

We stared at each alone, alone amidst the pounding waves.

I wanted to tell her that I had so much appreciated the time that we had shared together. That I thought her an amazing person who I wish I knew even better.

The words seemed hard and awkward to find. Instead I just stared at her.

"You up for a swim?" she said. "One last dip in the ocean?"

Her voice was tentative, somewhat afraid. I understood why, and felt trepidation as well. But I knew my answer.

"That, Andrea, is yet another fine idea of yours."

My mind whirled as I spoke. Who else might come upon us on this beach? An answer appeared before me.

"Hey, why don't we borrow the Sheely's raft?" They had offered it to us earlier that week. Their family owned a large circular air-blown craft with an open middle. Around the edges were air cushions. Riders floated with their feet dangling into the ocean waters as they leaned against the backrest, enjoying a fine beverage. Six people could float together. The Sheely's had older children, and it was perfect for their family. They had paddled out beyond the waves almost every day. Andrea and I had appreciated the offer but decided that our children were a bit too young for that type of adventure. But we still had the code they had given us if we changed our minds: 77737.

Soon we were up near the dunes where vacationers kept items too big or bulky to haul back and forth to their rented houses. Holding the flashlight under my chin, I--with great difficulty due to shaking hands--undid the number lock on the chain.

"Can you turn out the light while I change into my swimsuit?" Andrea asked.

I could hear her removing layers of clothes in the darkness, and I did the same. Of course, I hadn't worn my swimsuit for crab-hunting. I stripped to my underwear and paused, a bit uncertain what to do.

With the moon obscured by clouds, I could not see Andrea.

"Ready!" she clamored. "Hey, what are you wearing?"

I felt her hand touch my hip, her fingers briefly tugging on my boxers.

"No fair! No stitch for me means no stitch for you!"

She was naked! My heart pounded in my chest.

"OK! Fair is fair. Let's go!"

I dropped my boxers.

In the darkness, we each fumbled to grab a side of the huge float and then headed towards the surf. It felt odd to be naked in the open, but I enjoyed the touch of the cool, thick air as it swirled around my body. As we neared the crashing surf, I felt light beads of seawater sprinkle all over me.

I stole glances at Andrea, but her body remained a mystery in the darkness.

I stepped into the deepening water, which was surprisingly warm in the darkness. Without words, we stopped and dropped the float. With a few light tugs, it floated in the waves.

"Get in and I'll push us out!" I hollered over the surf. The entrance--a break in the edge cushions--lay before me. I spun it towards Andrea and held the float steady. As she stepped in, the moon partially emerged from the clouds. For a brief moment, as she climbed forward, I saw the side view of her full dangling breasts, followed by a quick glimpse of her white bottom that seemed to glow due to the contrast with her dark, tanned legs.

And then she was gone into the darkness, the moon again behind the clouds.

I felt a surge of blood in my loins.

I pushed hard, moving the float through the resisting waves. As the water rose above my hips, l leaned forward and kicked. I could sense Andrea aiding my efforts by using one of the rig's paddles. Several minutes later we were gently lolling in the waters beyond the breakers. I found the craft's entrance and pulled myself in. Still in darkness, I felt Andrea press the other oar into my hands, and we worked together to push ourselves out even further.

The sounds of the crashing surf faded, and I could her Andrea breathing heavily across from me.

"Wow!" she said. "Do you know where we are!"

I pointed to a light on the shoreline. "Our houses are a quarter-mile left of that light. I bet the surf takes us right there. We'll get home. No worries!"

And then: "What a beautiful night."

We floated quietly in the darkness.

I felt the tension but did not know how to break it. She seemed so far away from me.

An idea formed.

Leaning backwards with excessive force, I raised my knees to my chest. My center of balance tipped, and I flipped over backwards--intentionally--into the ocean. I immediately reached and grabbed the side of the float. I dipped under the water and felt my way under the rig as delicately as possible. The warm Gulf water enveloped me, pressing against my body, softly, sensuously. My fingertips found the edge of the center hole.

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