I watched the sun sink into the sea and set the sky on fire. Night was creeping in. My eyes went from the sky to the bonfire burning brightly right in front of me. Neither the sun nor the flames were any more than embers in my eyes. The real fire was in my heart, thawing all the ice away. I dug my feet into the sand and smiled, my eyes closed. This is the first night this summer that I've felt so alive-- the first night in years. You were inches away from me, and I was glowing at the prospect of my knee accidentally brushing against yours. I could have turned to ashes and wouldn't have cared. Spontaneous combustion felt way too easy. I believed that exploding into a hundred million tiny sparks was the most beautiful absolution; I wanted to ignite your night sky.

I wore a dress the same color as the champagne I was sipping. I wanted it to offset the blue of my eyes so that you could see jewels where rubble once lay. I wanted you to have the ocean and discover what I've hidden in depths no one could ever swim to, no one could ever reach. I wanted to drown myself in drunkenness so that I could say things I could not say around you under any sober circumstance. I wanted to drink up every word you let fall from your mouth like it was the cure for all my ailments, like it could stabilize my shaky hands and shaky heart. I wanted you, above all else, and I did not care that you were stupid or insensitive, or that I'd broken myself a thousand times before at the mere mention of your name. I wanted you then, and I want you now, and I find myself wanting nothing and no one else. You sat so close but felt so far away, and I was reminded that the only thing I ever wanted was the only thing I could never have.

All the alcohol did was seal my lips and leave me dumbstruck. You had so much to say, while I could barely speak and barely listen. You sat beside me out of kindness; I saw your mind wander off as mine stood in place. I felt like laughing. All I could do was look at you and pace back and forth in my own mind and curse myself for how much I wanted to kiss you. When I'm with you, I am not myself-- or maybe it's only with you that I am myself? It's impossible to tell. You said some things about other girls, but my thoughts were a blur and I could barely make anything out. Maybe it's for the best that I don't remember, because all I can remember is none of those girls were me.

The night was over far too soon and I was left a drunken fool. I was glad I knew how to hold my liquor, when our goodbyes were clumsy and I was likely to trip over my tongue. I almost said something stupid like I needed you or that I loved you once and I never stopped since then. Instead I said that it was nice to have seen you after far too long and that we should do this again. The fire was doused and we went separate ways, but now I'll always hear your voice whenever I hear the waves, and remember how warm I felt beside you when, for once, you weren't obliged to be. I'll take the next time as another chance to be brave while I'm not hiding behind a glass of champagne.