We are walking along the water in the dark. It’s chilly out; his hands are in the pockets of his leather jacket. Our footsteps have synched up over the course of the five-minute walk in silence down the beach. My black boots, his bare feet, left, right, heel, toe.

“Are you cold?” he asks. We reach a good spot and lie down in the sand.

“No, I’m all right.” I don’t get cold easily.

Just as predicted, the stars are beautiful tonight. I will always appreciate the stars. I imagine that the sky is a black canvas with tiny pinpricks in it, revealing through the perforations whatever light lies behind it.

We huddle closer together as we watch the stars in silence. I twitch occasionally and wish I could control it. He holds me close to him and we share each other’s warmth as we take in the cool, salty air.

Official relationships just hurt. They hurt all the way through, and they end with hurt. I don’t want that. I can’t do it.

I just want to keep listening to Nick Cave in his car while we fly down the highway.

I just want to keep people-watching with him and talking to strangers.

I just want keep listening as he tries to explain Magic: The Gathering to me.

I want things to stay the way they are now, because this is the only safe space. If I get up from the sand, look away from the stars, things might be complicated and fall apart. Like they do every time. Things are simple right now and they’re wonderful.

I hope we never move forward or back. ♦