It’s early, and Tenby beach is secluded. Removing my sand-filled shoes and sweat covered vest, I catch my breath, and watch the sea, lost in the rhythmic percussion of waves on sand, wishing the lyrics I need would make an appearance before losing my job. If a ten-mile run this morning wasn’t enough to clear my mind, the steady rising horizon should. Yet, nothing comes. Harri was my only muse, and since losing him last year, no words have escaped my pen; coming to his birthplace was my last option.
Watching the orange beams glisten the waves, I walk into the cooling water until it reaches my chest. I breathe slowly as my memories of our time together flash before my eyes, times that heartbreak, tears, and emptiness didn’t feel so familiar. I lean back and float amongst the current, letting the waves take me for their own. I close my eyes and attempt to think of three verses and a chorus for a romance soundtrack. Romance doesn’t come as easy anymore.
The serenity of the calm waves is suddenly disturbed, and my eyes open. I feel a hand touch my back, and I’m raising to my feet. My hand grips onto his muscular forearm, and my gaze burns into his rugged good looks: his blue eyes, short bearded jawline, and styled hair. For a moment, I’m back in his arms, and the melody starts to flow as my heartbeat ignites. I’m staring him in the face, but the spell cast over me soon breaks as his voice sounds out of sorts.
“Samantha,” he asks, loosening his grip from me.
I observe his red and yellow lifeguard uniform hugging tightly to his strapping body and swallow hard; his image looks similar to my husband’s, and it’s knocked me for six. “Jake?”
“Are you okay?” he asks.
“I’m fine. In no need of rescuing,” I shun. I cross my arms over my goosebump covered body and make my way back to the sand.
“I’m not being funny, but that’s not what it looks like,” he says, his accent intruding his voice as he becomes annoyed.
“I’m fine,” I repeat. I pick up my top and put it back on. No matter how hard I try to avoid staring into Jake’s charismatic face, my eyes wander back to his curious glare. I pick up my shoes and walk away.
“Samantha,” he stops me, placing his hand on my shoulder. I pause and look back at him, and his face haunts me, but at the same time rises emotions I haven’t felt in months. My frozen heart starts to melt as his eyes take me back to happier times. It’s like staring into a ghost, and I can’t stand it any longer.
“Don’t, Jake. I can’t. I shouldn’t have come here.” I say as tears start to pinch my eyes.
“Can’t what, Samantha?” he questions.
“You look too much like him,” I sigh and look away, taking my next step without looking back.
“Alri, love, how’s it going? You look panicked,” Patrick asks.
“I’m okay. Bumped into someone I didn’t expect to see, that’s all,” I say.
“Oh, silly me. I forgot to mention Jake is back on the shore. He left his missus,” he says.
“Why?” I ask.
“Sordid affair,” Patrick pauses. “You and he are alike, you know, both a bit lost. Anyway, I’m going down the shops I am, can’t stand here chopsing,” he finishes, leaving me feeling guilty for the way I shunned Jake earlier. I need to apologise.
On the walk down to the beach, I try to find the right words to make it better, not just for today, but for how I have ignored his comforting messages over the past year. I’m hoping he is as forgiving as he always has been and won’t ask for a confession about my distant behaviour.
The tourist-filled beach boggles my mind as I search for a red and yellow covered body, like playing where’s wally. I take my converse off and place them into my bag and let the warmth of the sand surround my toes as I walk towards the lifeguard sat on the high chair.
“Excuse me,” I shout up, and he looks down at me.
“Alri, how’s it going miss, can I help you?” he says, climbing down from the chair.
“Is Jake about?” I ask.
“Jake? He’s off duty,” he says. “Hang on a minute, you’re the girl from this morning,” he smiles, and I nod my head.
“Don’t tell him I told you. He’s on the other side of the rocks over there,” he points, and my gaze follows.
“Thank you,” I smile and start to walk in between the hoards of people. My mind wanders as I see the freedom on everyone’s faces, enjoying the sunshine and time with their loved ones. It takes me back to the times we were here as a couple. It’s then I realise I should be reliving the memories we have rather than me banishing them. No wonder I have lost my artistic flair; I’ve forgotten about the way he made me feel.
When I reach the rocks, my stomach is in knots. I see Jake sunbathing, hesitate and question whether to turn back around.
“Samantha!” I hear, taking my attention to the sea. Oh no. I look at Jake, and he’s sat up, looking directly at me. I look back at his Mum, and a sigh escapes me; I find myself slowly walking towards her. She welcomes me with open arms, squeezing me harder than I would prefer.
“Jake told me you were here. Don’t you look lush,” she beams.
“Look who I have found,” his Mum hollers, and before I know it, his dad, sister and niece, and nephews appear.
“How’s you doing?” his dad asks.
I look at him, trying to escape my reminiscing memories with all these familiar faces surrounding me. The last time I saw these people, Harri and I went to Jake’s sisters’ wedding. It was romantic, elegant, and, as they would put it, lush. Time with Harri sparking my emotions and trembling my body as I recall the three days of having him wrapped between my legs. Shaking my thoughts aside, I go to speak, but the semi-naked body of Jake distracts me. His tattooed arm and chiselled chest flush my cheeks, having not seen the bare flesh of a man in over a year.
“Samatha, come in the sea with me,” his niece begs, pulling my arm. I look at Jake; he laughs and sits back down. I drop my bag down, take my shorts and vest off and take her hand.
“Well, we won’t lose you in that,” Jake jokes as my bright yellow bikini beams in the sun. I glance back at him, and he winks, his charm being somewhat comforting.
My hands are wrinkled, and my hair full of salt, having spent the afternoon in the sea and playing volleyball with Jake and his family. We haven’t spoken much, but the tension between us seems to have dwindled as time has passed. When he was in the sea, his sister let me on his woes and his empty love life. I now see what Patrick was getting at, though I doubt I am Jake’s type, and a relationship is the last thing I am looking for, regardless of the few lines I managed to write down earlier as my words seemed to burst from me. Irrespective of his handsome good looks and alluring charm, my husband’s constant reminder is something I don’t think I would be able to look past.
“We’re going down the pub we are,” his dad says.
“Are you coming?” his sister asks. I look across at Jake, and my heart starts to pound rapidly. It’s not that I don’t want to; I do. I have had an unexpectedly lovely day, but I fear for the part of me who wants to be around Jake.
“I’m going to head off. It’s been a long day,” I say.
“Alri babes, I hope to see you again soon,” his Mum says.
“Come here, give us a cwtch,” his sister insists, hugging me. “Stay in touch. It’s been a cracking day.”
I gather my things and head to the lowest part of the rocks, ready to climb back over now the sea has come in.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Jake curiously asks. Confused, I look at him and fiddle with my long brunette matted locks.
“The jet ski is the quickest way,” he smiles, taking my bag from my hand, ushering me towards the shore.
“I don’t think so,” I say, turning back around.
“Come on,” he laughs.
He places my bag securely on the jet ski and straddles it, looking at me, “Jake, I don’t want to,” I say.
“You’ll be all right. I won’t let you fall in,” Jake says softly.
“I’m scared,” I admit, twiddling my fingers shyly.
“Don’t be,” he smiles, gesturing his hand out towards me. My head tells me not to, but my heart is beating faster than usual.
“You’re telling me you would rather climb the rocks and walk back?” he says as I hesistate.
“Fine,” I say.
I take his hand and climb on, putting on the life jacket he hands me. Feeling the water swaying beneath us sickens my stomach. I have always hated the idea of travelling on water.
“Hold on tight,” he says as he starts the engine.
“Hold onto what?” I shout over the roars.
“Me!” he shouts as he puts his foot on the pedal, quickly moving the jet ski to sixty miles per hour. My body trembles with fear as the sea move fast beneath us, taking my grasp to his life jacket, the sunset making the water look more daunting as it’s now dark and unknowing. I close my eye and impulsively wrap my hands around his waist, making my heart skip a beat as the scent of him is soothing and tempting. I become lost in thought as words run through my mind, finding my chorus, words I never thought I would be able to write again. Back in sync with my music genius mind, I don’t realise we have stopped until he tells me to let go. I loosen my grip and laugh.
I climb from the jet ski and take a deep breath. “Jake, about this morning,” I pause.
“You don’t have to apologise,” he says, taking off his life jacket, holding his hand out for mine.
“But I do. I didn’t know about your wife. I shouldn’t have treated you like I’m the only one who suffers heartbreak. I can’t change how you remind me of Harri. Today, being back here with you and your family, I feel at ease, and maybe it is because you’re so similar,” I say.
“Is that the only reason you’re so tense around me? Because I remind you of Harri?” he pauses, his glistening eyes burning into me as I twiddle my hair and a lump forms in my throat.
“Are you saying I imagine the tension between us? Because if you are, you’re lying to yourself. Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t plan to fall for one another considering the circumstances, but haven’t you had enough of being alone when I’m here willing to tell you anything you want to here?” he says, agitated.
“No,” I say.
“No, what?” he asks, turning away from me. I hesitantly step towards him and touch his arm. His sapphire eyes sparkling in the sunset look into my chocolate stare. He takes a deep breath and faces me, taking his hand behind my neck, planting a passionate kiss onto my lips. His sweet taste leaves me breathless, and the moment is serene. His arms wrap around my waist as the waves surround us, his kiss bounding me, freeing me from the numb world I have been living in for the past year, and all I can think is I’ve found my muse.