Photography by Dondre Green
I. Little Compton, Rhode Island
We strip naked. The air, bloated with salt, slaps against our skin and we laugh as our t-shirts billow out and our hair tosses into our faces. Wild children. We pile our underwear together on a rock and dive deep. The ocean relishes in the chance to hold us; she cups our breasts, laps between our spread legs, pulses against our backs so that we are floating. Weightless. Dark, rushing water with unknown depths. The sky above us swells with early morning starlight.
II. Narragansett, Rhode Island
We are not friends anymore, but somehow I am visiting your family's beach house with you. I've decided that I don't like the way your brother looks at me; I don't like the way he touches my lower back when I go downstairs to get us towels, his breath hot, erection visible against his damp swim trunks. We commute here in the big van. In the backseat, my legs straddle the cooler full of cold hot dogs and slices of watermelon and chips and green grapes. When I try to readjust, you laugh loudly at my discomfort. I press my head against the window and my hair leaves a mark of grease.
While your family sits on the shore, I push into the ocean. Familiar, salty, warm. Seaweed clings tightly to my thighs and the water fills my ears each time I dive beneath the surface. I can hear you yelling something from the shore; your stomach pushes heavy against your swimsuit, your arms are freckled and tanned. I don't come up for air for a long time, your voice muffled by the ocean's rhythm, my thoughts intangible when mixed with the water's soft embrace.
III. Les Salines, Martinique
Patrick doesn't speak English, and yet he's been speaking English all day. His car rumbles as he drives toward the sea; somehow he manages to both shift gears and keep his hand on my thigh the entire ride. Here and there he stops, either to buy me fresh coconut water or show me an area where I can see the expanse of the ocean. "This is abundance," he says, before pressing his mouth firmly against my own. His mouth is always wet.
The night before, we stay on the beach late into the night, despite the early warnings of mosquitoes and Zika Virus. Patrick says he could stay here all night; Patrick says I am more beautiful than the sun setting on the ocean's shore. I roll my eyes, but let him kiss me anyway. I roll my eyes, but think of the word 'abundance' when he disappears beneath the sea, leaving me floating on my own.