You are looking at him, but not beyond the even planes of his opaque skin. The rest is hidden, an oasis of God knows what tucked behind walls you’ve attempted to peer over many times before, only to topple backwards and twist your ankles.
It hurt, but the glimpses were like nothing you’ve ever seen.
There are parts of him you know well, and you abandon your care to tread in that place night after night, silently, without telling anyone that’s where you are.
He is like the beach. You step onto his dry sand—the warmth of a perfect exterior—sinking into the edge of him. You want to run further. Into the water, into his elusive depths, ebbing and flowing just out of reach.
When the grey blanket of the sea tickles your toes, you think you’re almost there. But then you consider going back, and maybe you step away. Perhaps you find yourself terrified by the vastness of the ocean, the unknown creatures lurking in their caves, the feeling of your legs suspended above black pits.
You’ve known of friends drowning in similar waters. You imagine you are next, and turn toward the shore.
The waves rear their heads. You can hear them behind you, thrashing and crying out, more alive than you’d ever known them to be. Don’t go.
You look back. Water peels across the sand, hissing and reaching for you still. Ebbing. Flowing. Immerse yourself in me.
The beach is wild but you are too.
You move under the weight of a rigid, ever-present longing. Forward. Dropping your fears like forgotten shoes.
This time—the water envelops you. He wraps you in his truth and you begin to realise; the instant warmth of the sand cannot compare to the never-ending intricacies of the sea.