Standing along the pier, I felt the warmth of the late summer sun contrasting with the coolness of the spray from the Pacific Ocean. It was late afternoon when I arrived, too late to go for a swim, too early to find a place for dinner, having eaten on the long flight from the opposite coast. Fear of flying was tamed by a constant stream of carbohydrates and sugars, topped with a pulp novel. While I accumulated calories, I found myself rereading one page, actually one passage, for the entire five-hour flight.

When she appeared, the coolness of the day turned warm with her passion.

I could not keep my mind off her. What to expect, what to sense on that first meeting. I did not even realize when we hit turbulence over the Rockies, something that usually turned my stomach inside out with terror. And here I stood, feeling the sun fading, the spray from the ocean glistening on my bare arms, my face, the wind spreading it like dew in my hair.

It was near six as I stood near the stairs, the place where she said she would meet me on her way home from work. She gave me directions and a picture of the pier, the stairway leading to the sand circled, heart-shaped with a red, felt-tipped pen. I looked at the picture again, orienting myself to the pier end, reassuring myself that it was the right spot.  I nodded, as though telling someone that yes, I was meant to be right here, right now, as I felt a hand on my shoulder.

But it was not the hand, but the feeling, that alerted me that I was no longer standing alone. The feeling of a sudden warm breeze, blowing seaward, as though signaling a change in the weather. It was as though the coolness of the waning day had turned warm… just as the book had said… The hand pulled lightly on my shoulder, turning me away from the setting sun to a new brightness, her smile. I knew her at once, not from her blond hair, or that she was a little shorter than me, but from the radiant glow her lips put forth. I was captured by it, as I had been when I first saw it in a picture, what I found her most striking feature. A smile that had brought light to my darkened world. A smile that showed the warmth and passion of her.

My body moved around towards her, her hand no longer applying a force, but simply resting, guiding me. What moved me now were her lips, forming the words… Hello… Mine answered in return… Hello…  It was as though they were guiding us, moving us into the right position. For it was what they wanted, what they had been waiting for, for that first touch, lips touching, silently, to feel what they felt like, pressed in greeting.

It seemed like an eternity for them to approach being close but so far. As they touched, a sudden warmth passed between us in a long, flowing motion, covering us, protecting us from the coolness, caressing us with the beauty and sensuality of the moment, as if the ocean had risen over the pier end, and rolled over us, sweeping me into her arms… Strange, as I felt that kiss, I remembered what beachcombing means… a long rolling wave… I was being swept away by the long, rolling wave of her passion, wanting only to be embraced by it, covered by it, becoming a part of her.