Here you'll find
Watching beach life in Dirna. Written for a Torquere Press short fiction contest by the same name.
How can anyone be that energetic in this heat?
There he is, sprinting along sand that whispers under his bare feet. The ball flies back and forth, bounces and rolls, and they roll too, laughing. There's six of them, six tanned bodies, sand sticking to sweaty skin. Mussed hair, grinning mouths, grasping hands. If the game has rules, I don't know them and I doubt the players do either, but that doesn't deter them any. They shout to each other, voices bouncing from the stone levee, eyes squinting. Every now and then one of them spits sand from his mouth and the others laugh. How long have they been going on? I'm halfway through my third tall cider, that's how long, and yet they show no sign of slowing down.
It's low tide, and the revealed expanse is steadily turning from grayish brown to increasingly golden under the blaze. The ball rolls towards the receding waterline, one of them chases it, then flings it back to the others. He leaps to catch it, ends up sprawled on the ground, holding the ball possessively to his chest and there's more laughter. He sits up with a grin, stands up, shakes sand out of his shorts. Even from this distance I can see a rivulet of sweat running down his spine, down along the dip, until it disappears beneath the waistband. I sip my drink and imagine letting my tongue follow its path.
His skin is golden. I love to look at it, yet I won't join their game. I'm not in too bad of a shape for my age, but running about isn't my thing anyway. I prefer to watch the play of young muscle under supple skin, admire it, marvel at their strength and beauty. They enjoy burning their boundless energy under the afternoon sun, when most people have retired into shadow in anticipation of the evening and a cooler breeze.
I, too, much prefer my vantage point here on this terrace, under a roof that provides a shadow where the wind from the sea can reach me and make the leaves of potted plants rustle gently. I enjoy the cool, crisp sting of apples and alcohol on my tongue, the shrieks of gulls circling above, the sigh of ebbing sea as it surrenders the sand for a few hours to the revelers soaking up the sun. And I enjoy watching them, basking in the glow of their beauty. Quite especially I enjoy watching him.
He knows that I'm here, of course, and he knows I'm here to watch him. The others complete the picture but it's him I'm here for. How many days have I already spent here, lounging on this terrace? The waiters know me by now, they greet me with a smile, tell me that unfortunately 'my table' is not free at the moment but there's another, equally well situated. When 'my table' is vacated, they wink and gesture at me while clearing it, making sure nobody else has the opportunity to come and take it again. I thank them. They, too, know why I'm here.
Again he's rolling on the sand, this time tackled by another player, and my heart skips a beat when he slowly sits up and rubs his elbow. Then he's on his feet again, shakes the arm and soon they are in full speed once more, playing a ball game that's only comprehensible to themselves. I let out a sigh of relief and turn my glass, listen to the clink of ice in golden liquid.
His shorts have been hitched lower in the playful scuffle to show a stripe of paler flesh. His ass is tight and round, I can see its shape beckoning to my hand underneath the cloth. He's not tall but his legs are long. I would love to see the curve of thigh and buttock, let my fingertips brush gently along it, feel the skin quiver, press my palm on the small of his back. Oh, and that hair, the ash-blond hair that keeps getting loose from the headband and falling over his eyes. It invites me to push my hand into it, feel the silken weight glide like water between my fingers. Such thick hair he has.
My hand has risen, involuntarily, to touch my own hair. There are a few gray ones hiding in there, I know, but thank goodness I can't think of a single bald male among my close relatives. My father and grandfather had veritable manes till the very end. I hope I can count on the same.
Aren't they ever going to run out of steam? And that pot-bellied wicker bottle on the sand, surely it must soon be empty, with all six of them sipping from it? Thirsty, anyone?
The afternoon has stretched on, there's still something of a walk to the hotel and I don't want to hurry. Time to go. I empty my glass, get up, pick my hat from the table. The jacket, it's too hot to wear when walking, so I just fling it over my shoulder and head towards the door. A nod to the waiters, another to the barman, and I'm outside. The pavement is radiating heat through the thin soles of my shoes.
They are wrapping up their game, too, trotting towards the freshwater pool to wash. Such strutting and playful bickering, comparing injuries got during the game. Someone splashes a big wave of water towards him, his body arches to avoid it and then he howls vengeance. Their laughter fills my ears and I smile as I turn towards the hotel.
I can go now. No need to wait; he'll catch up with me soon enough and give me a quick kiss, still hot and breathless from the game. And when the night falls, I'll be the only one to see him tremble, to hear his husky laughter, to kiss his golden skin and make him melt.