My Lover, Poseidon

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I am at the ocean.

After a delicious lunch of lobster stew and fried calamari, plus a bite of my best friend’s salad (because, you know, gotta stay healthy) we went for a walk on the beach.

We walked the long strip of sand, all the way out to the jetty, with its jagged boulders and briny, anaerobic scents, and sat there until we couldn’t feel our noses.

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On our way back to the hotel, we spotted an older gentleman in a gray sweatshirt writing something in the sand. I remarked to my friend how the beach often brings out our innate playfulness; memories of building sand castles, dodging waves, feeding seagulls (as opposed to chasing them; I love seagulls), and writing messages in the damp sand that will inevitably be washed away by the tide. As we marched up the stairs to our room, I noticed a woman in a red coat sitting on a lower balcony, smiling to herself. I didn’t think much of it.

Now, sitting on my third floor balcony, I see what the man has etched: a heart, shot through with an arrow, with the words, “Betty My Love” scrawled at the center. I attempted to capture it, but the camera on my phone just isn’t up to snuff.

Trust me, it’s there.

Just now, the woman in the red coat and the man in the gray sweatshirt are walking arm-in-arm along the beach. Upon further inspection, they appear to be in their late-fifties to early-sixties. She has a kind face and brown, shoulder-length hair. He is grizzled, with long, gray hair tied back in a ponytail. They seem content—as content as two vacationers could be, surrounded by blue skies and even bluer seas.

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Only once have I stood beside the sea, arm-in-arm, with a lover. Most often, I find myself here on the cusp of heartbreak. Perhaps this isn’t a coincidence. I’ve been visiting this particular beach with family and, more recently, friends for about two dozen years. Maybe I can just sense when I need my negative ion fix; that annual or biannual meeting between Poseidon and me, when I let the icy waves wash over my naked feet and he reminds me that there are plenty of fish in the sea.

Yesterday, I arrived with a slight scratch at the back of my throat. After a heavy lunch of codfish cake Benedict (so good…too good), I felt a sinus headache creep between my eyes. By late afternoon, I was laid up with a full-on migraine and everything that goes with that, and spent the rest of the night in bed. I woke up early this morning feeling much better and made it my mission to spend at least a couple of hours journaling on the balcony.

Here’s a snippet of what I came up with:

One of the most pervasive phrases used in erotic and romantic fiction has to be, “waves of pleasure”. It’s so common, it’s cliché.

However, sitting here, watching the waves ebb, surge, crest, froth, crash, foam, and ripple, I cannot think of a better analogy for female orgasm.

I’ve written my fair share of orgasms and, if I’m both lucky and determined, I will continue to do so for many years to come. Coming up with fresh, unhackneyed phrases for pleasure can be daunting, as there are only so many nouns, verbs, and adjectives (not to mention euphemisms) at one’s disposal before they cross the line into purple prose.

That said, some things stick simply because they work.

Some days, an orgasm is like a day at the beach.

There’s the gentle rippling of the water, when it appears as though nothing of particular import is going to take place. Then, you have the slight upheaval, the shaping of the wave, a deepening in color—the signal that you’re doing something right.

You see the peak, the sharp edge of the wave as it rises from the surface, surging closer, then closer, until it crowns and there’s nowhere to go but down, over, tumbling onto itself.

It falls and froths, skidding and rippling to shore, as far onto the sand as it can possibly stretch.

Petering out, it thins, dilutes, and dissolves, slipping back into the deep.

And then, assuming you’re the sort that recovers quickly, you let the current drag you into the fray once again. (And again, and again…)

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Tonight, I lie down beside the Atlantic. A cold and jealous mistress, she will wash away Betty’s heart.

But, wrapped in the arms of her gray, grizzled man, Betty will not shiver.

And, lulled to sleep by the song of my lover, Poseidon, neither will I.

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