17 May 2008. 11:28pm.
My hair is sticky and crinkled from the sea water, leaving a thin crust to dry on my body as I lay out on my towel, soaking in the sun, letting it burrow into my skin and latch onto my bones.
She stirs on her towel next to mine. "How is the water?" she asks, peeking (as ever) over her large sunglasses.
I snicker. "Oh, you know how it is. Invigorating, frenetic, tumultuous, exciting. All of the above."
She gives me that lopsided, wry smile. "I meant for you to tell me the temperature, not describe your love affair with the Mediterranean."
"Ah, yes, wouldn't want to make you jealous now. The water is pretty much perfect today. You should come out there with me."
She reclines again, peaceful and serene, a stark white against the bright orange of her beachtowel. Her vine tattoo wraps around her torso, down her sides and around her back, intricate and almost fragile. "Later. I'm feeling lazy right this minute. Plus, I can't be too white this summer. I need to at least develop a peachy color to my skin."
So we lay there and talk. (And, not wanting to lie, I won't say we don't cuddle.) The sun marches its ponderous way across the sky, and shadows shorten until it is almost exactly overhead. She reaches up, takes off my sunglasses, and asks if I want to go swimming now. i hem and haw for a few moments, pretending to ponder, until I pull off her shades, set them on her towel next to her, and reply, "Race you to the water."
I dart down the beach. She remains there for a moment with an iconic 'deer-in-the-headlights' look until she leaps to her feet, running after me on her thin, graceful legs. She grabs the neck of my shirt as I hit knee-deep water; I leap in, dragging her in with me.
I swim underwater for a few moments, then resurface to find her sputtering and trembling. "I thought you said it was warm!" she yells, laughing at me.
I grin back. "No, I said it was perfect. Never said it was warm."
She hollers, "You're dead, señor!" and dives in after me.
I love to swim. I especially love to swim in my dear love, the Mediterranean.
Having Carolina's company makes it that much more memorable.
We frolic in the waves. Her hair, wet and clumpy, hangs in her eyes like a beaded curtain. There's a little clump of her bleached blonde hair that she's dyed bright pink - usually it hides behind her right ear, but now it's prominent and easy to spot, demanding attention.
She shivers in the water after we play for a while. Her porcelain flesh is cold to the touch; I pull her close to me as we stand, waist-deep, in my sea. I part the curtain of her hair, and I look into her eyes - those captivating, wet emeralds that have always seemed so melancholic and lachrymose.
Today, they seem different. They seem happy.
I lose myself in those deep, verdant pools.