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  • Writer's pictureArlette Ferber

Sonnet 18, Shakespeare - Eternal summer

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and softer...

... when your warmth, dimly filtered through the curtain along with your familiar smell, fills the room, your cool hand touches my forehead. I try to wake up, but my body is still sleepy. Through my eyelashes, I peek at you, my love. You sit patiently on the edge of the bed and smile at me.

"Hey Girl, are you taking me to the beach today? I want to go somewhere I've never been before. Surprise me!'

"Where did you come from so early?" Was the door open again?""

"Come on, quick, get up. I came on foot, you're going to take me home tonight, right? You always forget I still have your key."

As I rush to shower and eat a sandwich, Dearest is dreaming and gently rocking from one foot to another. While I'm at it, my eyes follow his movements, I can't resist looking at him. He's not aware of it, and that only makes him more beautiful, look so happy. He's just standing there being happy. To exist in the purest form.

I grab his hand and we run to the car, he crashes down next to me and starts one of his monologues. As I drive too fast on the highway, I nod yes and no, mumble oh and ah. The content completely eludes me. All I hear is the chatter of his voice which first fills the space and then seeps in through the pores of my skin. Hold on to it, but how? I want to save this sound for lonely nights. Call on it for ghosts to be expelled when I'm scared. Put it in a bottle like a precious perfume.

Don't daydream now, my attention is shifting back to the road, we're almost there.

"Shoes off! ... and run. If you're last in the water, you'll pay for lunch.' He thinks it's kind of funny and I know why. That's how it always goes.

I'll run after him in and dive into the water. Our shoes, clothes, my car keys, everything is wet and sandy. Then we swim, to clean a bit. As a bunch of adolescents, we make noise and foolish silliness without paying attention to our surroundings. Are there any other people on the beach? I don't know. Delicious freedom.

Finally, as two tired seals, we wash up and ask 'eat?' at the same time. Yes of course! We look back at the beach bar behind us. Oops, beautiful wicker sofas with white cushion, waving voile curtains provide shade, polite banter and clatter of cutlery. Maybe dry up first, lose some sand and brush off the mischief before we walk into this lounge paradise.

As we dry up, we fantasize about one of our most beloved conversation topics: food and drink. Spend hours in the bath with Prosecco and toasts with smoked salmon. Don't cook, just feed each other bits and bobs. Sweetened strawberries with whipped cream and sweet white wine. Eat lemon ice cream and drink glasses of Limoncello. And always, but always finish with chocolate mousse. A great habit, especially after breakfast with croissants and cappuccinos; of course in bed.

After a quick look in the mirror of the toilet, we appear more or less presentable with a hip beach hairstyle and get the table with the most beautiful sea view.

It's my turn to make a choice for both of us. It will be a salad of green asparagus with vinaigrette and a vegetarian pasta, a glass of white wine and a bottle of mineral water. We wait for our order and we eat the bread with sea salt and olive oil. It becomes quiet at the table, we look at the other eaters and we look at each other. You stretch your long legs under the table and hug my feet with yours, my eyes smile at you. As I reach over the table to touch your hands, the waiter makes a clumsy gesture and places the plate in the middle of the table, in between us. We share this meal, eating from the same plate, drinking from the same glass. One perfect unity: food, wine and pleasure.

"Look," you whisper, "here we come" and you indicate the direction with your gaze.

A young couple in the company of two oldies, installs themselves at the table next to us. The oldies, dressed entirely in black , are visibly impressed with their surroundings and are looking around a bit awkwardly. The young man caresses his mother's hand and negotiates with her over the menu. The young woman helps her father put the napkin on his lap. Little is spoken, a wordless rapport hovers around them like a blanket of satisfaction.

We look at each other and nod almost imperceptibly- our hands carefully grab the ends of the blanket on our side of the table and slowly pull it towards us. It stretches out and grows big enough so that we can bask in it for a while.

Just for a minute, cause we know the truth.

"Dearest" I try to get your attention, but you keep looking at the oldies " we are parentless children, childless parents, each other's brother and sister and each other's lover. I'm your absent mother, and you're my absent father. We're the kids we never had. We have more love together than anyone else, to give, to get, to share.'

You look at me again and the moment is gone. The shadow has gone back to the farthest chamber of your heart.

After dinner we stroll through the surf, throw pebbles and shells into the water, watch children playing. In a quiet spot, we sit ourselves into the sand, you crawl up against me and doze off asleep with your head in my lap. I caress your face, play with your hair. I listen to your breathing and feel that my body adapts to your rhythm, one body breathes, two souls sleep together.

We stay on the beach for a long time, watch the sunset, listen to the seagulls flying low above the sea. It gets chilly and we huddle close together. We pretend we'll never go back, but of course we do. In the car we don't talk on the way back. As always, your hand is on my leg.

Together in the dark everything changes. The headlights become candles, we sit on the benches of a chapel, the music gently disappears into the background. We fold our hands and pray. Words of love form the beads of a rosary, form a mantra, a prayer. We know it's time to go, without looking at each other, we get up and walk to the door. You hug me and I kiss your eyes and your mouth gently. Without looking back, you walk across the church square to the whitewashed wall. Every evening the wrought iron gate is closed to the visitors at dusk, but now you push it open effortlessly, you look back and then you disappear between the tombs. Back home in time before the souls are counted by the angels who watch there.

I love you, I'm happy because.....

... Thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that your splendour;

Nor shall Death shadow you if you persist in my senses

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

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