The sun was preparing itself to rise, painting the horizon with a shade of red and orange, and I quietly stared as she twisted and turned under her coverlet, her skin showing so enticingly that I could not resist the urge to stroke her. I let my hand slide from her bare shoulders to her neck and then to her hair, and she stirred when my fingertips touched her closed eyelids. Her dark hair was spead around her head like a magical aura, the strands wildly scattered on her sleepy face. I tugged some of her bangs free from her mouth.
"What time is it?" she murmured.
"Early enough for you to continue sleeping", I replied.
Sighing, she turned her back on me and pulled the blanket to cover herself fully again. I continued to stare at her back even after her pace of breathing had evened into a sleeping rhythm.
Maybe it had simply been too long, but I found it strange to see her sleeping beside me just like any other mortal. Even when we had been together, she had always awakened before me, and by the time I had opened my eyes, more often than not she had already cooked coffee and served it to my bed. So, seeing her there now, in such a vulnerable state, it made me want to wrap myself around her, like a mother hen protecting her young ones. I guess I always wanted to see her as my unbreakable rock, something I could always fall against, something which would always stand firm behind me.
But of course, even rocks can be broken, and even the strongest individuals are not without their weak moments. Once, my selfish heart had wanted to believe otherwise. Now, I rejoiced of every moment we could spend next to each other, knowing that what we had could evaporate into nothingness in a split-second.
I hoped she felt as safe as I used to feel when sleeping next to her.
Softly, I rose up and sneaked across the room to the bathroom, where I filled the electric water boiler and put it on. When the water came to boil, I poured myself a cup and took one of the tea bags Youko had left on the table and tipped it in the hot water, until the water became infused with the brown colour. I sat down, facing the window.
It was the moment right before the morning broke out full-throttle, most of the tourists were still sound asleep, and there was a sense of quietness in the air, one I could feel on the surface of my skin. Downtown, the daily hustle and bustle had no doubt already started, but here, I was still captured in the small gap of silence. Youko's wrist watch was lying on the table, and I picked it up, staring as the pointers clinically marked the passing of time. The longest pointer revolved three hundred sixty degrees once, twice, thrice… Minutes passed, the sky on the horizon was getting brighter, the languid dawn was giving way to the hectic morning, and our time together was ticking away, as inevitably as the river flowing into the sea.
But I guess that was the way things were. All things must come to and end, and our surreal holiday was doing so with a pace neither of us truly wanted to follow. I did not want to turn back the clocks, but what I wanted was to stop the passing of time and enjoy the priceless moment just a bit longer. I guess I just wanted to linger in this sense of calm, knowing there was yet not a single concern in my life, and all I needed to do was to look at the dawn and await the awakening of my beautiful lover.
There were still two days left, two days of our dreamlike respite from the harsh reality, two days of ice-cold cocktails, warm sheets and secret glances when we though the other one was not looking. Two days of almost perfect harmony, an existence unburdened by either the past or the future.
I did not really want to think about either.
There was nothing but burnt down houses and ghost towns in our past, and the future was an ocean where I would be sent drifting without an anchor. I tried my best not to dwell upon the insecurities, and I hoped Youko would do the same.
I knew that inside her heart, Youko held hopes of reconciliation. I thought she hoped I would simply move in with her after we left Honolulu, that we could by some divine pact suddenly forget everything what had happened between us and live happily ever after, like a prince and a princess in some fairytale. I told myself I was simply being realist when I dismissed such considerations, but whenever we made love, she would look me in the eye with the same fervour as she had so many years ago, and I could feel my resolve faltering. Because once again would I see the girl who believed that nothing was impossible if one just tried hard enough. Perhaps I was to her now as her shining career as a lawyer had been to her back then. It would have been so easy to relent and let myself be washed away by her willpower, but I maybe I was too much a coward for that. I did not want to be led to the rocks once again, but sometimes I wondered whether a life spent avoiding pain was a life at all.
"Please, come back to bed. I am so cold without you."
There was a certain tranquility in the days we spent together in Hawaii, something unattainable in any other place. The sun burned hot as we lay on the beach, hats on our faces, and we did little else than just space out and concentrate on the most immediate physical sensations. I concentrated on listening the ocean waves, the waves washed away at the shoreline with a calming rhythm, like heartbeats of the sea.
The morning had matured into afternoon too quickly. Time passed fast, like it always did when you did not want it to, but I no longer felt anxious about it. After the current day, there was still tomorrow, and after that, the day after tomorrow.
And when the sun would sink towards the horizon, we would gather our things and head for the nearest bar, drink pina coladas and reminisce about our high school days until midnight, and then we would head back to the hotel. We would make love, and afterwards, when the silence would be absolute, the constellations would shine on us, and the moment would be ours alone, a pristine bubble of time and space in which there would be no pain, no regret…
I took the hat away from my face and turned my head to glance at Youko, and as if she had read my thoughts, she stared right back, smiling, her eyes still as resolutely hopeful as they had been for the past days.
Those dark brown eyes swore to me that she would not let me go. And despite everything, it did not feel wholly unpleasant.
Because I wanted to live my life, not to be afraid of it.
A/N: Thank you. Everyone who has read this story, everyone who has enjoyed it, everyone who has given me reviews. Writing this fic has been an experience I will not forget. I hope what I have written has pleased those of you who have followed this story right to the end. My own feelings towards this fic are bit chaotic, but I hope I have given at least someone a reading experience he or she has been able to truly enjoy.
I don't know what will happen from now on. I will continue holding Marimite dear in my heart, but about my future as a fanfiction writer I have no ideas whatsoever. I am now engrossed by my original fiction, but I guess I will be trying to do at least some one-shots once in a while. There are pairings I have not yet explored, and I would like to do so, if my schedules only permit and if inspiration is generous enough to present itself to me.
Best wishes and a big thanks once again for everyone,
Glimpse the Unthinkable