“Just hold me as long as you can.” She said it quietly, almost in a whisper, but they were pressed so close together that it sounded as heavy as it always did, still containing all the layers of variance he had traveled through for many years, examining the layers of warmth and breathless desire that seeped through her throat and tongue, finding his ear an open vessel for her inner lights.
Any sound in response was lost to the rattling wind outside, but she felt a slight movement in his head and a tightening of his arms around her. She responded, nudging into him as though the skin alone was no barrier.
They were two naked bodies, laying on a simple mattress. There were no sheets or pillows, nothing but the plain silver-blue of the mattress below them. She felt him breathing against her, warm breath against the cold of her neck. His breath was a fire lit in intervals, coming quickly every few seconds, warming her just as quickly as it began to fade in the cold darkness of their cabin. Her arms clung to him as never before.
Never had she wanted to be closer, to break the division of skin and merge finally into a single being. She clutched him as hard as she could, her chest rising and falling in a mad race to capture all the oxygen she could, to pull it into her, to steal it from every corner of the room and hidden crevice of the mattress, soon there would be no more.
A violent storm lashed against their metal boat. The wind knocked against their little world with force she had never known. This was a storm of myths, so grand in its fury that her mind searched for an explanation, a reason that waves could rise so high. The boat rose up and down on the black waves, riding them as long as fate would allow.
There was nothing to do but lay on the silver-blue mattress, to lay and wait as calmly as they could. The elements would do what they would, they were just drifters, untimely drifters on the waves that would eventually pull them down.
Everything on the little boat had broken. The sails had been torn to rags by the wind. The navigational system collapsed hours before in a final deafening buzz that signaled the end of their escape. Their only other crew member had fallen over the edge, he was somewhere, floating in the deep blue sea. They were minutes away from joining him and in their last few minutes, they did what was natural, what was as unscripted as rising waves and howling wind.
They got as close as they could, pushing themselves as close as their bones and flesh would allow. They had not planned on this, had not planned for it to end so soon, but just like the waves, they knew most things moved without a clock. Nothing came on time, and on the sea, there was only the will of nature, the grand force without emotion and planning.
The sea had no feeling, no cause for rage, no motive that could ease their hearts. It simply moved. It rose and fell as it was pushed by wind and heat and pressure. It moved with force, but it was not punishment, there was no conclusion to derive, though her mind searched for a just cause. It was them who had gotten caught within the criss-crossing of swirling changes. It was them who would soon come down, their bodies that would soon crumble and meet the cold waves.
“Just hold me as long as you can,” she repeated, pulling herself into him.
The boat lifted momentarily, then crashed into the unforgiving wall of water. She imagined it black outside. The sea and water matching in shade. She smelled the salt of his skin and put her attention on the coldness of his body. They held each other, riding the waves. Time felt short, but maybe it was as short as it had ever been, each breath a simple, sustained lifetime. It was alive, and each new second was a tragic gift.