Through one town, into another, south and south, intrepidly south. South to the end of the road where the water tries to swallow the shore and gnashes its foamy teeth on the jetty. I had to park the car as the road had turned into sand and then water. But I left it running.
"I'm not going to kill you, you know," I said.
"Well, after all these year I still don't know what you're about." We smiled at out joke, but I know you still, after these many more years, don't know what I'm about. I forgive you for that and for not knowing how to break me. It's your only flaw.
"Come on," I urged, and took your hand.
"Out there?" You looked scared. It was the only time I've seen that look in your eyes. Was it the water? The black sky against black waves? The rocks making those odd jagged shadows?
"Don't worry," I laughed. "I'll protect you from the fish."
The spotlight on the dock shining between the masts of the fishing boats slid back and forth across your face as the mast obscured it, then let it through. Now I see you, now I don't. Where are you? There you are. I held your hand tighter and pulled you onto the jetty, stumbling over the cracks between the stones. We moved when the light allowed us, jumping the larger cracks, performing a treacherous dance.
"Slow down!" you shouted at me, but the wind pulled it out of your mouth and your panic was all around us. Then you slipped. I felt you pull at my hand as you fell and let go to save myself. I recovered my balance and turned around. You were bleeding and your pants were ripped. I almost vomited.
"Are you ok?" I asked, after the nausea passed.
"I'm fine. Are you ok? You're as white as a ghost."
"I just don't like seeing you hurt," I said, and I meant I can't believe I let you go.
"Don't freak out. This is far enough," you said with such finality that I knew, of course, it was.
"This is far enough."