the water’s edge

I have one hand leaning against the polished stone, fingertips gripping the fern moss that freckles the walls of the soaring Central Valley waterfall. I look out to see the laughing faces of our friends as they tread in the small, tepid pool and the red-winged bird singing from a feeble branch wrapped in flora and the shimmering of a half-complete rainbow on the wet rocks lining the water’s edge.  All hardly visible, as we stand behind the falling water, peering through a glistening rain that blurs everything in sight with the exception of a few fleeting moments of clarity. My other hand weighs heavily on his hipbone, my thumb slipped between the elastic band of his swim trunks and his flush, olive skin. I put more weight on his body than I do the rock wall. I am looking down at my wiggling toes, as they navigate the slippery rocks beneath them, trying to find comfort and stability before I look back up at him. He lifts my chin with the length of his forefinger. His eyes are narrow and focused, a hazel more green than brown. His hair is wet and when he tosses it back using a hand comb, it has a flow that frames his face perfectly. His chest is glossed over with an after-rain dewiness I’ve only seen in a place like this. There is a single breath between the moment our eyes lock and the moment he presses his soft, timid lips against mine. His mouth frames my upper lip and holds on for what feels like many, many years. I feel the tip of his tongue only briefly before he tugs at my bottom lip gently with his teeth.  My hand, the one against the rock wall, slips away to grab hold of of his angular, unshaven face.

I trust he will not let me fall.

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