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The ‘Eternal I’

The incomplete story of Amalei Hemworth and Kez Hemworth, and the journey of their everyday love. Told through Amalei’s journal entries.
The beginning…

I very much had hoped to share a whole book, but I’ve run into issues, my dears. Maybe I still will, but this deserves to be enjoyed for the masterpiece it is, even for the small chunk and beginning that it is. I am entirely in love with this story. Thus, on behalf of Amalei Hemworth, Enjoy.

She caressed the back of my neck as she pulled herself closer to me, the night light turned off, the stars lulling the city to sleep. I heard her whisper, already half-asleep, “I love you, baby. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, my love.” I said and ran my fingers through her hair. The curtains hanging in front of the bay window were half open, one side left partially unclosed. The city lights were soft, the only noise was the low hum of the cars on the street going to and fro. I gently turned my head to look at her face. Fast asleep. I can’t help a smile. I nuzzle my cheek to her forehead and give her a soft kiss. The world was perfect right now. In this moment, beautiful forevers lived. Our eternity was one of the heavens, my soul and hers.

I stayed like this for a while before finally drifting off to sleep, myself; in her arms and she in mine.

Birds chirped outside in the morning air, the light scent of coffee wafted to my nose. A golden river of sunlight flowed over my face as I opened my eyes in the nine-a.m. light. I felt no one beside me and saw that Kez was standing at the small coffee bar betwixt the bathroom and the TV. Stirring a paper cup of dark roast, she watched me stare at her for a second before saying, “Good morning, beautiful.”

“Good morning.” I say, beaming, “My heavens, you are wonderful.” Yes, life was perfect. And, damn, I scored.

“Wonderful in what way? Physically or characteristically?” She asks, a brow playfully raised.

“Both.” I say, and she smiles.

She comes to join me on the bed, the scent of dark roast following her aura, and props up two down pillows to sit against. “Where do you want to go for breakfast today?”

“The little pancake bar by the dock.” I sit up on my elbow.

“‘Joe’s Shore Stacks’?” That was the one, so I nodded my agreement.

“You’re beautiful.” She says dreamily and brushes a lock of hair out of my face, “How did I get so lucky?”

I wonder the same thing, looking back at her smokey blue eyes, and tell her so. These mornings are what heaven is, I’m sure; if only they lasted forever. The touch of her fingers on my cheek, her eyes staring back at mine, reading some precious code within our souls. Yes, I wish this would last forever.

 Alas, Kez breaks our little silence and tells me, “Well, you better get ready then. I don’t want everyone on the dogwalk to see you.” A wink.

The “dogwalk” was what everyone called the main street of our town. It was where everyone took their morning stroll, and really it was the busiest part of this quiet dot on the map. The same seven people would wave their greeting and the same seven voices would say “mornin’” as we’d walk by. But those fourteen eyes were not Kez’s two, and Kez is the only one I wanted seeing me. I was happy to be hers and those seven people did not need to see my silk pajama top.

I give her a loving kiss before plopping my feet on the floor. I opened the wooden bureau of four drawers and pick through my twelve tops. Kez watched me in the mirror; my back faced her, but a looking glass upon the chest allowed her to see my whole front, too. She passively stirred her coffee as she stared, never taking a sip. I loved how, even still, she was distracted by me. Once I’d picked one of the four pairs of jeans I owned to go with my shirt, she came and slipped her hands in my front pockets from behind and tilted her head to kiss my neck. That picture of us in the mirror was perfect to me. I kissed her. Her hands moved to my face for that brief moment, but then she let one fall to my hand and the other lazily to her side, “Let’s hit up the sunshine, my love.”

The pancake house was only a short way away, just a block and a few buildings down. The sun was bright, but not piercing; the morning was still slightly cool. Daisies and roses and geraniums planted in gardens along the way offered wonderful perfumes to smell. The dock and the ocean could be seen right from the sidewalk, it was only beyond the small street and then grass steeped and bent into the shore. If you walked out to the coastline and looked toward the dogwalk, it just looked like a tiny rolling hill, the whole coast higher than the shore and gently dipping into sand.

I took it all in, the world sinking into the waters below, the tiny grains of broken rock and shell the only things separating it from dropping off to be engulfed by waves. What furiously strong tiny pebbles! And aren’t we all just grains of sand making up a larger shore? We all hold some kind of world on our shoulders: our own. Every one of us tries to stay above the lapping waves. And together, we hold whole countries! My long stare of the coast breaks when we come upon the small blue brick building. Butter and syrup already tasteable in the air. I squeeze Kez’s hand tighter as I sniff the ambiance.

“Don’t you just love even the scent of the outside?”

The air smelled of buttermilk batter and Aunt Jemima’s with a hint of hashbrown as we stepped into the tile-floored pancake house. A little bell above the door rang our arrival, and a grandmotherly woman came from behind a partitioning wall where she was preparing utensil sets, to grab two menus from her pulpit stand and walk us a short way to a booth.

We sat at a table opposite the left wall. The slightly sun-bleached red faux leather upholstery, somehow stiff and soft at the same time, creaked when you sat, and you could feel where each of the large springs inside it were. A grand view of the yellow cement wall of a knick-knack shack directly faced the side, and, from Kez’s view, the docks. From where I sat, facing a wall, which I supposed separated the dining room from the kitchen, a black and white framed poster of a racecar was hanging by the windowed wall. Red lettering, in a font best obtained by combining Remarcle and Daily Mix 4, stated the name of some NASCAR event and the year. A large, scribbled signature graced the bottom left corner and rendered the photo much importance.

Kez was flipping through the menu book but looked up to glance at me when she noticed I was staring at her. A smile brightened her face, “What are you looking at?” she said with a sparkle in her eye.

“You.” I stated, my voice soft. My brain felt as if it were floating through clouds in a dream world. She is so beautiful to look at.

The same woman from before came by and poured a mug of coffee for Kez, who’d asked for it as we sat down. I swear, sometimes I’m afraid that if she stops intaking caffeine, some part of her might stop working. That’s how she drinks it. I think I’ve never seen Kez without a coffee in her hand. A paper cup, a glass, a foam cup, a mug… the only containers she will not drink coffee from are plastic cups and metal tins, as “they taint the freshness and taste too much”.

Life is funny the way it got us here, the way it led me to her. The best thing the universe ever did. I know our souls danced on starry nights even before I knew her name. We knew each other, I swear we did, our souls did. Even when we met, there was something so familiar between us. And when I hold her, everything feels put together and calm and right.

I’m staring at her again and I’m brought back to earth when she asks me if I’ve chosen the stack I’m going to order.

“You’ve been off in space again, haven’t you?” She chuckles.

“My mind is full of wonderful worlds of me and you.” I say, “My mind is the imaginary of the tangible; it is my world of moments of us, perfect and good and everlasting.”

“Are they better than here?” She asks me with her brow furrowed in concern.

“Nothing is better than here with you. No, my worlds are full of little pictures I take of us in my mind. A cassette on rewind and replay. All of my memories are you, and I can remember not a time before you.”

“And neither can I, you.” she replies with a smile.

Kez is like one of those girls who always hold a cigarette or always grasp a daisy in their fingers, only, with Kez, it is those little wooden stirring sticks that sit in plastic jars by the bean-roasting pot. I think I’ve never ever witnessed a moment when her hands weren’t ever-stirring a cup of coffee. And she does it now. Gentle currents of circles swirl around in the stout ceramic mug sitting before her. And she almost never looks at it, either. I would be mesmerized by it; the liquid being guided by the stirrer. But then again, I wouldn’t, because I have Kez to be mesmerized by and I find her the most incredible of all beauteous wonders to stare at. I adore her the most of anything.

I must be smiling that unconscious daydream smile, because she asks me what world I’ve slipped away to now. I tell her I admire her eternal stirring of her coffees. She laughs. God, I love her.

With our stomachs full of pan cakes and whipped cream and delightful fruits, we decide to take a stroll along the bay. The sun is out at mid-noon now. The seagulls fly high in the sky over the slim, sandy shores. We stop at the end of the dock and look out into the offing. The blue of the water grows darker and smoother-looking the farther out the eye wanders.

“We ought to go fishing off these docks one day.” Kez states, her eyes out on the horizon, “I imagine there’s wonderful little fishes here to catch.”

Several boats line the dock pier, a decent modest one sits on the right hand side, just behind a single empty slot. “Well,” I say, “let’s go then!”

“And take a boat? Steal one?” She looks aghast, but excited.

“Yes, ma’am!” I take hold of the rope of it, “All aboard Mr. Fisher!” I exclaim.

“Mister Fisher mustn’t be his name, he must be Lady Perth. And he must be a she.”

“I like shes.” My eyes sparkle.

“So do I, Miss Amalei.” She plays back. I grab her face and kiss her wonderfully hard.

“Off we must go! Push off, Madam Kez! Let the ocean be our trodden plain for the wonders yet to discover! A canvas of the painting of us in this very moment of soon-forgotten time!”

She takes the wheel at the helm and turns us about so we face the slot where the ocean pours into the sky. Sometimes I like to imagine that there is a waterfall, graceful and wide, where the heavens greet the great waters. And maybe one day, we will all eventually be pulled off the earth by it and we’ll kiss all the fall into heaven. I certainly would be kissing Miss Kez Hemworth. She’d be all my eyes could see. And that certainly would be falling in love, don’t you think?

Even now, I can’t take my eyes off of her. My God, she is graceful, standing there; her sandy locks—a sandy auburn chestnut; the hair of angels—flowing about in the wind. The wind of our sails leaving the shores of human habitation and becoming a simply-existent only-us. The world falls away.

“Miss Hemworth,” I slip between her and the wheel, when the shore became as small as my finger, feeling a magnitudinous pull of affection for her—always, such is my state, but extra gloriously in the present— “I require a kiss from the beautiful Kez. And my heart will not be satisfied with any wooing of earth until I obtain it.”

“Then it must be granted you!” her eyes are wide.

Our mighty little ship floats uncaptained for a brief eternity as she caresses me and we kiss the most beautiful kiss I think two humans ever share. Passion burning upon our lips, hearts thirsting for the ever-flow of our spirit’s eternal love. Oh, what quenching a kiss can do for the thirst of great affections; a quenching and a teasing; propane to a roaring fire. A hungering is what I have for her. It is an eternal hungering of my heart for everything about her. A great, consuming fire must have gone rampant within me, making it so necessary that my soul be near to hers. In this life, it must be, before we can return to being a unified spirit ever-within and ever-engulfing each other, eternally and forever. Even an eternity of forevers. Forevers like this one where we share mighty kisses on the open sea with none else but us to dance in the sky of life.

My passion when I hold her only grows stronger, and I can tell it is the same with her when she pulls me tighter, closer, and presses her lips so firmly against mine that we really might as well fuse together and be truly one flesh. My face felt like hers and her face felt like mine, and my lord, that is what beauty is. Being one body with your very love.

Alas we come apart, for flesh we are, but alas, we are alone in the quiet serenity of these waters. The city cannot be heard, nor can the city hear us. And this is the way I like it. For it to be just us. All of life is about the single moment we are within. And I’d like all of my presents to be composed of her. Every moment with her, for it to draw out into eternity like it does in my dreams. Indeed, in my mind, that kiss lasts forever. It never ends. That is how I imagine our souls will be: in an eternal state of kissing the other with acceptance and fullness into self and of self, for we are “I”. We will always be “I”. One spirit in fullness, a clasping, a joining, in a celebratory kiss of the other half of “I” finally found. It is a never-ending rejoicing of the entirety of “I” and the joy of ever-composing and solely composing and never losing the we that is “I”. Our canvas of being will always be “I”, and in this human state, I hope it is always we.

We spend many hours floating upon the glass of the earth, the mirror of sky. We talk and laugh and stare at the perfect features of one another. We daydream and hold one another. Kez catches two fish and I catch a minnow. But, around 4 (that is my guess), we sail our vessel back to land, back to life, and back to this world.

Kez stares at me as I tie Lady Perth back up to the dock.

“There!” I finally state, satisfactorily.

“Your fingers are mighty talented, Miss Amalei.” She teases with a coy smile and her eyes dance. I laugh at her mischievousness and come up to her and hold her hands and kiss her again on her lips.

“I like these kisses. May we always share them?” She states more than asks. I nod.

“I’m going to marry you, one day, Kez Hemworth.” My eyes are light and dreamy again, “I swear it by the heavens. Even if I die trying and have to whisper my vows from the grave.”

“How dark of you.” She squints her face, but can’t deny a small smile. Holding up both hands with her fingers crossed, she says, “I want to actually be able to kiss you when we marry.”

“And is that the criteria for a good wife? That you be able to kiss her on the day you wed her?”

“Yes, I reckon, it is.” She laughs at her own silliness. “But, I think the first and most important criteria to a perfect wife, is that she be Amalei Jane Ostanne.”

I blush.

I suggest then, “You could kiss the dirt!”

She answered very surely, “If you were the dirt, then I would wed it. But then I’d never walk, for fear of treading you.”

Kez used to tell me she liked my last name because it sounded quite like pretty fall days in a word. I told her I agreed, but we both decided I would take Kez’s last name. I liked the sound of “Amalei Hemworth”, anyhow. It is somehow so incredibly fitting. And I am supposing that, if you have picked up this story, you already know the ending of it. How would one read a book authored by one, “Amalei Hemworth”, if her name was instead “Amalei Ostanne” because she never ended up married, or married under her own name? A silly thing to think. But let me not spoil the story…

Kez then bolts off the boat, running down the dock, and calls back to me,

“You can only marry me if I don’t marry you first!” She teases.

“Madam Hemworth, I believe we’ll both be partaking at the same time in saying the vows!” I chase after her and we both laugh even once I’ve caught up to her. Out of breath, and halfway home, we sigh a joyful sigh. Kez plops on the grass by the sidewalk and stares out to the shore. I sit with her and she lays her head in my lap. Seagulls fly above the gently lapping water, the sand drinking up small sips that the ocean offers; again and again and again. Does the shore ever not thirst? Does the sand ever not crave a drink? Or is water love to those little morsels of rock and shell? And then, how can I judge them? I have an eternal thirsting for love, too.

A gentle breeze blows, and I tuck a few wild strands of hair behind Kez’s ear. She holds my thigh as if cuddling me and closes her eyes. I consider awaking her and teasing her by saying, “Are you napping?! Right now? Already!” But I don’t, because I love feeling the weight of her on me, I love watching over her so simply, I love looking out into the vast sky knowing she’s right here next to me. This moment must not be disturbed. This moment must be drank up like the sand ever-drinks of the ocean water. So I soak it up and let her rest. I like being here in this moment with her, experiencing this exact place and space and time with her. So I let us be. I let us just be in this moment.

Looking up at the clouds, watching them move by at a slow crawl; and then down at the horizon, I consider how odd it is—and also beautiful—that we can both be in one place, the very same exact dot (and, even then, not entirely) in this expanse of space, and yet, experience it differently, think differently of it, hear it and smell it and see it differently. And I get to share it with her. Even though I will never be Kez to feel it how she feels it, I’ve been granted the great blessing of walking beside her, sharing in it, and being a part of this moment with her and experiencing her reactions to it. Being let into her life and being the one who’s lap she lays her head upon as she interprets this moment the way she senses it humbly awes me. I get to be a part of the path she walks and hold her hand through all the sights she sees. She has invited me and accepted me to be her partner and second set of eyes. We can, in a sense, see our two different places through each other’s different senses. I breathe her air and occupy the space around her. Our path is the same, but in the sunsets ever before us, we both look upon them in separate perspectives. And I think it is beautiful; our uniqueness, and also, our very sharing in and of it together.

She breathes a heavy sigh, and this is when I believe she’s fallen asleep; after her senses were content with her experience of this place. I’ve been sitting propped on an arm, but now I lay down in the grass to look up at the trekking sky, taking its own ever-repeating journey. I rub her shoulder and her back, passively, just to be touching her. I paint out every cloud in the sky and observe its changing nature. The rabbit becomes the dog becomes the elephant becomes a crying saint holding a small goose.

Kez must feel my small chuckle, because she shifts to lay on my shoulder and snuggle into me. My heart warms with static; the energy of our love; inside goosebumps; butterflies. I close my eyes and breathe a deep breath. I love this very moment in time, I love this very place where we’re at right now and the way it is. I love the scent of sea salt mingling and intertwining with Kez’s scent of roses, Mediterranean dark roast, and our little motel room. Yes, this is one of those moments I wish would last forever. I take a mental picture of us, here, laying on this grass by this bay in this little town. I file it in my brain next to the one I took of us in the mirror this morning. My heart is brimming with spiritual polaroids that I’ve taken of us. I love remembering these beautiful times.

A couple hours have passed and the sun begins to set. The sky is burning golden orange, swallows flit overhead and dart among the branches of a nearby tree and chirp their song. I’ve slept; we both fell asleep and partook of a wonderful rest in each other’s embrace. This afternoon was very well spent. Any time with her is perfectly, wonderfully spent. A mouthful of adjectives wouldn’t compare to all the emotions welled up as a waiting waterfall lacking words—which my soul has spent lifetimes searching for—to properly explain and describe my great love, cherishing, treasuring, adoration, and affections for Kez Hemworth.

I blink, adjusting to the fiery-splashed sky melting into the ocean, and smile, remembering that she is mine. Everything else can wait. I lay my head back down on that poor flattened patch of grass—which I pity for its carrying of more than its due—and sigh. This moment should last a little longer. Every one of them with Kez should last every-long.

Kez stirs awake just then and breathes contently out of a smile.

“Mm, good evening, Miss Ostanne. My, the sky has put on a show this evening, hasn’t it?” Her eyes reflect the glow of the red sun as she looks out.

“Indeed it has.” I say, looking at her. “The sights my eyes behold are indeed breathtaking.”

She turns to meet my eyes, “Oh, poo.” she rolls her eyes and tries to hide a smile. She caught that I was meaning her.

And then, “Ought we to head home?” She sits up and I look at her, “I suppose we ought to, this poor grass has had enough sunlight blockage from carrying my thoughts, for one day.” We laugh. She takes my hand, and we begin down the dogwalk again; past the pancake shack, closed for the day; all the garden beds getting their last drink of water; Mr. Gimby’s and Mrs. Charleene’s, with all the other little houses; and up to the doors of our little motel. She’s the tallest building in the town.

We wave at Mrs. Percy, standing behind the counter, and Mr. Granger, who tips his hat as he passes by with his mop bucket. And then we take all the 119 steps up to the 4th floor, to the 12th door—Room 412—and plop onto one of the two queen beds in our room. The second bed lays unused, as we never have company and never sleep separately; but it makes our humble abode feel grand. By grand, I only mean larger. It offers extra space and makes our tiny living place seem like the size of a studio apartment.

Kez takes two cups of instant noodles and sets them in the microwave while I flip through the channels on our TV. College baseball, reruns of old shows, and a few movies. I pick “50 First Dates” and, when our meals finish cooking, she joins me on the bed, handing me one of them. I set down the remote and take the steaming paper “bowl” of soup. Some say we “rough it”, but I think we live for beauty and simplicity. We have all we need; we have love and adventure and sunshine and salty air. Every day feels like a vacation.

I lay on my side, with my head on her lap while we sip on our soups and watch a love story play on the little screen. I’ve gotten so used to her here with me that I don’t have to think to sit close to her this way, neither of us do—we love each other and are physically close to each other without having to consciously think of it.

Similarly, I’ve seen the pictures in this popcorn ceiling a million times. It all is familiar, but I remember it new. Kez used to stay here a lot when she “nomadded” around—she was always gravitated to this place. And I remember the day she first took me here. The Olive green walls and the honey-brown door and the white trimming and the salmon-brown carpet—which I imagine was once orange-red—all stood out to me. It was explorable; having things to find out which I didn’t know before. And now the 60’s style place was where I called home. We had stayed that night, and then that week, and we simply never left. I know all the features well, but every time I see them, I recall those memories of when I saw them first.

‘Well, here it is!’ Kez said with a smile, swinging her hands around the room in gesture to its features.

‘I think it’s cute.’ I said, dreaming off in my mind, picturing future days.

In fact, the way we are presently is exactly how I’d pictured us: laying on this bed, comfortably sprawled on top of each other. I smile. We came all this way. My dreams literally came true. I saw them in my mind and played them like a wonderful movie I’d watch a thousand times; and now here I am, an actor in the scenes I so love and adore and which we both have manifested into creation. This is my chosen life and I’ve chosen it since that first day. Quite honestly, even long before it. Even when I’d sit upon my bed in my mother’s house in Kentucky, holding some letter she’d sent me from this little town in Georgia. I’d hold it with a cherishing firmness, and yet reverent gentleness, running my fingers over every dent in the page. I’d smell it and imagine what she smelled like. The paper had the scent of cigarette smoke and, most likely, the post office.

I’d memorize every swoop and bend of the letters, I’d take note of the colors of ink. She’d use a blue pen one day and a black one the next. I imagined her sitting by a window like ours while she’d write, pausing to think as she’d pensively stare out. Kez Hemworth, the most beautiful of all women, sat and poured out ink meaning to explain all the words locked inside of her heart to me. And I was the one blessed to read the words; I was blessed to be the one they were meant for. Her hands sought for ways to put her soul into readable code. Every word was an attempt at explaining the jumble within her heart and within what we call the brain.

A mouthful of thoughts my mind has had this evening, and the rest of them much too garbled to put into words, so I quiet them and kiss her hand that I’m holding and then caress it to my cheek and lay on it. A deep breath pulls her scent into my brain and makes me feel warm. Sometimes, I imagine that the way I experience Kez with all my senses is what being high is like. High and drunk, yet very still and full of thought.

Kez used to smoke. She’d sit outside of this motel on a little wooden bench with a cigarette in her hand, and watch the cars drive by. Sometimes she’d lean forward, elbows on knees, one hand lazily fallen between her legs, the other held out, and she’d sit there letting the cane smoke. Other times, on cold days, she’d rest her back against the wooden slats and cross her legs, her arms huddled closer to her, and then stare out into the ocean. But she’s not smoked a cigarette in a while; not in a long while. Though I think she has a pack in her underwear drawer, a couple still in it. Sometimes I wonder if maybe reality was finally better than escape, or maybe she didn’t like the taste anymore or the smell, or maybe she quit to keep her lungs young so she could stick around to love me longer. I’ve never asked her why, but I often wonder.

            On the TV, Ula is saying, “[to Henry] What? Do you think you can come to this island and eat our pineapple?” Kez cracks up laughing and continues to as she watches Lucy scare the Hawaiian man off with a bat.

I stare at her, adoringly. Her laugh is the most beautiful. And her smile is one I’d die for. Every time I see it, I’m thankful it’s there. I take note of everything that makes her happy and a lot of the time I wonder if I truly do. Her putting away of her smokes has somewhat convinced me that maybe I do. Maybe it’s me that makes her happy. The security, the love, the adventures and laughs. And maybe it’s everything.

The way she looks at me seems so true, and most of the time, I wonder how I got so lucky, even enough to get to love her. Kez deserves the best and I know I am only a flawed human, but I hope that every action of mine proves to her more that I love her and that I’ll never stop loving her. I hope I show her that I care; I do everything I can to. I hold her close as often as I can, I take care of her without condition—when she is ill as well as when she is healthy in the everyday—I do little things to let her know she’s always on my mind and always in my heart. And I hope she truly knows it. I’ll never be Kez to know what she thinks, but I watch for that smile to come, and when it does, mine winks. Her happiness and wellness and assurance is my aim.

Even now, I squeeze closer to her; I cherish this and treasure her, and my heart overflows with thanks. Thanks to the heavens that I get to love Kez Hemworth; that I get to be here with her and hold her close and care for her; thanks for her being in general—the fact that she exists, and that I exist with her, in the same world as she does and at the very same time. Thanks for the mirth of the joy we share. I so desperately want her to know how much I love her. But for all these limits of humanity, I cannot properly express it in its entirety. To no end, it makes my soul ache, it makes me yearn for our purest state, the simple state that is our core of being. It pains me that we are human and that, as long as we are here, she can experience pain and sadness, and that I cannot join her as I yearn to. So badly do I want to protect her from every one of these pains of life and simply be wrapped up in her being and wholly devoted to loving her. But this physical body is so cruel and keeps me from it. Here, I hold her as close as I humanly can; the skin, our boundary, but we are never farther than this. To be in Kez’s vicinity, in her physical presence, is a special thing. It makes me reverently awed that she trusts me and has let me into her life and let me close to her. I like being the one she trusts, even as she slips off to her unconscious worlds. I cherish it—the fact that she’ll curl-up upon me and let her eyes close and sleep soundly in my arms is comforting to me. And I thank the heavens for that, too.

Presently, the characters on the screen exchange their last lines and then the credits roll by. I have been close to dozing the past half hour, but awake enough to smile every time I hear her chuckle. I know she has secretly stared at me every now and again, too.

“Amalei, the film has ended.” She whispers it and I smile. I open my eyes and find her fondly studying my face.

“You have a crush on me, don’t you, Miss Hemworth?” I tease.

“I do indeed. Sue me! You are cute when you sleep!” she retorted. “Have you ever seen your face when you sleep? If you had, you’d certainly want to stare at it too.”

I told her I reckoned not and she pouted and told me she would take a polaroid that night and show me in the morning, and that I would certainly fall in love as she had. I adore it when she makes that face, and when she lists my features as if the whole world ought to think I’m perfectly gorgeous, or they’re otherwise “blind fools!”

She takes my chin in her fingers now and kisses me. “I love you,” I say, and then whisper, “I liked that movie.” I can feel her heart chuckle and her brain say that I’m mighty adorable. I know it by that warmth in her cheeks and sparkle in her eye. She turns off the TV and the lamp and slips down next to me and pulls me into her chest. At this, affection and thankfulness swell in my own. I breathe in her scent and feel the soft skin of her neck and the comforting weight of her arms around me and, as I drift off to sleep, I smile when she softly kisses me on the forehead. I love this moment so very much—all the nights like this one; every minute with Kez.

The alarm clock on the bedside table goes off. Kez’s head is laying on my shoulder, her arm lazily stretched across me, her hand hear my neck. It’s five a.m. and the soft light is graceful to our human existence. I hold her tighter with the arm I had behind my head, after turning off the alarm when I awoke. Her breath is gentle, the morning still, and all is quiet. This hotel room lays separate from the rest of the world. A curtain of the bay window flows with the air trickling from the bulky air conditioner beneath it. A fog had settled on the city, making everything look like a beautiful watercolor painting. It wasn’t harsh or cutting, it just was.

Today, we are traveling North to Charleston, and from there—and for the next two or three weeks—visiting the best beaches between Myrtle Beach and Carolina Beach. Our little motel room would be waiting for us when we got back, as we, long ago, arranged with Mrs. Percy for a long-term stay once we realized this is where we had rooted. She didn’t mind at all and was, in fact, quite excited about it. The hotel is never busy and she said she figured we were staying for a good long while, anyways. “I secretly already set that room aside for the both of you to call home.” she had said with a smile.

After Kez had brewed a hefty amount of coffee to put in a rather large mug, we dropped by the general store to pick up snacks for the drive, and then set off onto the slim highway. Mrs. Percy sent us with homemade plum muffins which Kez and I currently gorge on. Pretty fall trees of all colors zoomed by us. Kez is in charge of the first leg of the trip, but we are taking turns. I brought a film camera and a sketch book to fiddle with while it was my turn to sight-see. Through a full mouth, Kez tells me to take the muffins far from her so she can’t eat anymore. “I’m gonna get a stomach ache!” She laughs.

We quickly realize soon thereafter that we ought to eat a more proper breakfast, so we stop by a drive-through restaurant and order some food, figuring we ought to save the trail-mix for later, anyhow. Kez is the one who put in the order. She listed off a “breakfast sandwich” for her, pancakes for me, and a milk-shake for us to share. I also asked her to get a parfait for later, and an orange juice. Kez hates the taste of water, so, when she’s thirsty and not drinking coffee—appallingly—it’s usually cranberry or orange juice or soda water that she drinks (but, usually, the first and latter only accompany her coffee rather than replacing it).

We pick up the paper bags of food at the window and all the wonderful smells waft in. I instantly crave the pancakes I’m glad I decided upon. Kez thanks the woman at the register before maneuvering out of the lot.

As soon as we’re on our way again, I open the Styrofoam tray of hot cakes warming my lap and dig into them. The minute I do, Kez smells them and is jealous, her egg sandwich instantly losing lustre. I feed her a bite of them and she groans.

“Gosh, that’s so good! Why did you let me torture myself with this boring healthy egg sandwich.” She said with a frown.

I laughed so hard that she couldn’t help laughing too.

I shared my plate of pancakes with her and ended up getting barely half of them, but I didn’t mind, I think I would have never finished them if she’d not ate them. I don’t think she ever knew about it either, and I’ve never told her. She enjoyed those pancakes and I enjoyed watching her enjoy them. I stole bites of her sandwich, too, though. She very much knew of that.

Once our meals had become only crumbs, I stuffed the packages back into the bag—which was now our designated garbage bag—and set it on the floor. The beef jerky was then opened upon Kez’s request. As soon as she had the beef jerkies in her hand, I got out my camera and commemorated the moment by snapping a picture of her with them.

“This is going in our album.” I smile.

“What album!?” She gets sad that I’ve never shared with her whatever album I had. But I don’t really have one, yet, I’m starting it with this photo.

“One I’m just now making.” I contentedly state. “And this debuting picture is going to have the caption, ‘Kez’s beef jerkies… Reminder: get the pancakes’.” I scribble it in my sketchbook.

Kez cackles. “You shouldn’t have let me get the sandwich!!”

I smile at her, my eyes glittering with overflowing love for this incredible person. “Ought I to have prevented you with brute force?” I stifle a chuckle.

And then, quietly, “Secretly, I got the large stack so I could share with you when you hated your selection. I’d never tell you what to get, my love, but I will always keep a little something else for you just in case. I have wifely instincts.”

Kez blushes and smiles gently and then whispers, “Poohey.” A pause as she marinates in the gentleness of love and then, “You’re adorable.” Our love is thick in the air then, and we both treasure it silently. But, then I must tell her aloud, as well:

“I love you more than you could know.”

She returns, “I love you, Amalei Ostanne.”

I stare at her for a grand few seconds and for every moment in which my eyes were meeting her face, the affections in me grow another hundred-fold. I think, frankly, my affections are always growing within me for Kez Hemworth.

“Wifely instincts?” She suddenly says, referring to what I’d said a minute ago.

“Yes, ma’am. Wifely instincts. I’m going to marry you, Kez Hemworth, and I already very much consider myself your wife.” I look at her, in love.

“So do I. But you mustn’t forget, I’m marrying you first.” She looks at me for a brief second and winks. I chuckle. This woman is a blessing from heaven. A treasure that I would forever cherish.

The first hotel we stay at is in Charleston. Kez is currently sitting on the bed reading a map pamphlet. I walk to the window and hold the curtain as I look out. We’ve got a partial-beach view.

“Ooh!” I hear Kez exclaim from behind me, “This ought to be fun!” She comes over to me, staring at a spot on her map. Pointing to it, she shows me a Ferris wheel in South Myrtle Beach. I chuckle.

“Oughtn’t we to go!?” She looks at me with much excitement—even as a bright child has, “Wouldn’t it be grand? I’ve never been on a Ferris Wheel! We would be up in the sky with the birds,” She stretched out her arms and tilted them like she was flying, “And then we could kiss! In the clouds!

I watch her adoringly, my cheeks hot red. I’ve got a mighty big crush on her. “We ought to go, then!” I say, staring at her wonderful face. She happily squeals with a laugh and does a dance back to the bed. I come over when she sits again and gently pull the map from her hands. I take her chin in my hand and kiss her.

“Mmm. Miss Ostanne, are you getting naughty?” She takes my face in both of her hands and kisses me deeply. I lean over her and lay her on the bed. She holds my waist and runs her hand firmly over my back, finally caressing my neck. Her other hand slides over my low back to grab my ribs. She knows she is in charge, as I have little to no dominant bones in my body, and she enjoys humoring me by letting me be on top every so often. It makes her feel even more dominant to let me play—as an older kid lets a little kid beat him in something, giving him great pride and happiness to let the child feel great triumph as though he’s very strong and grown himself and won by his own strength or wits. Once she feels she’s given me the win, and when she can no longer help herself, she takes over again and reclaims her place. I giggle as she turns me over, having very much expected it and very much enjoying the fact that she takes me as hers, even putting me underneath her. This somehow makes me feel so secure and safe. I especially love that I can tease her and grow her passion and the weight of her affections for me by whispering teases in her ears.

“Make me yours, Kez.” I whisper to her with heaviness in my voice, almost a begging. She grips me harder when I say it and I can’t help a moan. I love the feeling of her hands on me, holding me, wanting me, desiring me. She loves me so hard and holds me so magnetically. We fit perfectly together, our bodies, our flesh fit snugly against each other. Our love creates so much heat—it really is hot, and my theory is that this is where the modern term ‘hot’ comes from—and is carried out with such heaviness and care and precious urgency. We savor each other, though we ravenously grab and pull tighter and closer for more and more, deeper and deeper love. An ache and a relief all at once. A hungering and fulfilling all in the same and for the same. We love long and hard and this, too, lasts for an eternity. Another beautiful, wonderful eternity. The moments we share always encompass a whole eternity. Beyond this moment and before it. We fill up whole galaxies of time with each moment of togetherness.

Her strength in love, yet gentleness in consideration of me, within all this, makes me feel so cared for and loved and at peace and calm. Laying against her and being close to her gives me such an inner calmness that it hushes every past pain that I’ve endured before her. We become part of a timeline that only consists of now, with her and me and nothing and no one else. And this is beautiful. This home that we’ve created of us and within us and between us and for us brings such familiarity and peace and security. All this that we share is what love really is. Our considerations of and for each other prove the truth and honesty of our intentions in love. Kez is gentleness and strength altogether. She brings me peace and hope and assurance. And, from what Kez tells me, I have brought her security, peace, kindness, encouragement, and strength. My gentleness and carefulness with her have created an environment that she can trust and rest in. And she has done the same for me. We encourage each other and guide each other forwards into beautiful and heavenly perfect healing. Our love accomplishes this. Who we are to each other accomplishes this.

Kez is a treasure to me. A precious, incredible wonder. She used to never believe me when I’d tell her that, but she doesn’t deny it anymore, she just smiles a blushing smile instead. This makes me believe that she finally maybe realizes that she really truly is beautifully special. It does not change to me, my love for her, the amount of hands that have touched her. In fact, it wells inside me like stinging, thrashing water that anyone ever touched her without love in their fingertips or palms. It pains me to think that there are those who touched her who did not cherish her. Those who touched her without gentleness in their will or care in their intentions. I cannot imagine beholding Kez and not having such tenderness of heart for her. I cannot even understand how any person could touch Kez in any way other than a loving one. Even now, as I sit here knowing that she is very wholly loved and cared for and safe, it still breaks my heart to remember any time that she wasn’t. She deserves only the utmost love and respect; she deserves to be cherished and treasured and adored and handled so reverently. To not handle her in such a heavenly way seems frankly ungodly. God himself must be angered and upset at the uncaring ways she’s been touched. I am; I’m furious with each person who’s touched her in any other way than cherishing her to show her that she is so worthy of good things like safety and believing she is precious and deserving of honor.

But here I quiet my mind before my brow furrows too deeply. I have the blessing of loving her; I’ve been bestowed the gift—a great honor from heaven—of loving her. I will cherish that, and not let these things give me wrinkles just yet. I’ve got a life with Kez to enjoy and that is what I am meant to do. It is my goal to make a beautiful life for us every day. To be better for her than I was yesterday or even a minute ago. Kez is worth all this. She is worth the utmost bettering of myself. I must do this, for she is a gift from heaven; God’s beautiful angel, I swear it.

I imagine quite often that the earth hushes for Kez in certain ways. Humans are such a ruckus, but nature, she hushes at Kez’s presence. It is as though God cherishes Kez through each little bird or rustle of trees or the wind. He moves the earth for her. The sun looks upon Kez with such awe of her beauty and value—for the sun could never even dream of being as bright as Kez. She tries, but Kez is an angel fallen from heaven. That is how she seems to me. The wind carries love letters in whispers to her from heaven. The trees bow at the feet of the daughter of the heavenlies. The ocean laps on the shore, inching closer and closer to her, hoping to just catch a moment of her presence before receding to its place, even kissing her feet as a servant. The mountains stand tall around her to protect her, the treasure whom they know is most valuable and precious. The earth takes slow and cautious journey around the sun, so as not to wobble her path or cause her to stumble. The clouds gather over her head to shield her from the sun’s jealousy. But even the sun respects her and lights her way and warms her. For this is the duty of all of nature, to provide all wonderful things for her. And I feel I am part of the gifts that the Lord has placed here to care for her. I get to stand next to her and walk with her and love her and use my voice to tell her all the beautiful messages of God; that she is wonderful and irreplaceable and incomparable among created things, that she is precious and worthy and lovable and special. And this is my gift, to be a gift to her, to bless her, to look after her. This is the beauty of life to me: to love Kez Hemworth with everything in me and to adore her with every breath I take.

I must show her all the truth in my words when I tell her all beautiful things—the beauty of her creation and of her essence and existence. The blessing of her is truth. Her worthiness is no fib or lie. This all I must show her. She deserves to know it, to believe it. And it is my utmost honor that I’ve been bestowed this job: the duty of wholly loving her.

She must see the expression in my eyes, full of thanks, when she rolls over.

“What is it, my love, that has you so thankful?”

“You. It is to you and heaven for you, which I owe thanks.”

Her smile makes air puff through her nose. “You adore me, don’t you. You’ve a helpless crush.” she teases.

“I do. A mighty big one.” And I look at her as though she hung the stars in the sky. I revolve around her, at least. All my planets do. I love sharing a soul with her. Ourself is so perfectly beautiful.

We took a walk around the beach town, today, and looked in all the cute shops and bought little trinkets, all pink or blue or yellow or sandy tan. We both got T-shirts that had the name “Charleston Beach” printed on them in Victorian fonts and featuring fanciful portrayals of a cartoon beach, complete with a smiling crab and a caricature of the sun wearing sunglasses. But it was evening now.

Kez puts on some music and presently taps me on the shoulder and asks me if she can have this dance. She takes my hand and we slowly sway to the rhythm of our love, gently caressing each other, our faces resting against one another, and all of us tucked into each other. We dance quietly like this for a long while, cherishing each other’s company.

I squeeze her a little tighter and hug her closer to me as the beauty of this moment fills my heart to the brim and overflows.

By Alyssa McClure

I fancy myself a writer, a tea drinker, and a stare-at-the-sky kind of gal :)
I am currently writing "Kanda Land", "The Universe Inside Her II: a book of unsorted poetic letters", and, of course, "The 'Eternal I'" is in the works!
blog email: alyssamcclure@poppintalk.com

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