Looking back it was inevitable. From the moment I stepped out, overdressed, into balmy evening and strode alongside mock-Mediterranean blue toward birthday libations.
I should have felt it then – the rising draw, the recklessness, the ephemeral connection. Yet it was night before it hit me. That darkest hour before the dawn, when myriad shades of blue give way to uniform black velvet, adorned with Orion’s own studded belt.
There were five of us left, the dregs of the pub crawl, downing the dregs from our plastic cups. We sank our feet into the stones and let them settle, laughing and naming the constellations as the pier loomed dark-on-dark behind us.
And all the time the drive was deepening. Something of pure element pushing against flesh and bone, threatening release in its savage desire for immersion.
Drunk on fledgling friendship, I raised it as a dare. A moment’s hesitation. Then a kicking off of shoes.
And then there were two. Two of us in the immense and primordial black, broken only by the steady burn of wind farm beacons. Friends looked on in concern and amusement commingled as we drifted and dived and drank in the night.
It was there that the summer was born again – the border of something brilliant, where philosophies ebbed and overflowed into satisfied sea-struck silence.