The smell is what I will never forget. The heavy smell of seaweed. It makes me sick, that heavy smell of failure.
It was a warm summer and the heat made us lazy and a bit crazy. We spent our time away from the city that summer. We lay on the beach, you in your red jams and I always wore my dotted sixties swimsuit. You said, back then, that it suited me so well.
We ended up renting a small cottage by the beach. It wasn’t big enough for people to change their opinion in it, but it worked for us. We slept on air beds and I don’t think we ever used the sleeping bag we had with us.
We spent our days laying in the sun, cuddling on the beach and bathing in the ocean. In the evenings we sat in the sand outside the cottage, we drank red wine and we ate takeaway we got from a little place up by the peer. You called me Your Blue Moon and we made love underneath the stars. You’ve never called me that since. Never.
I don’t like thinking that the best days of my life are behind me, but those were good days. Maybe the best days so far, and it all worked so well, until it went sour, until the darkness set in on us and the smell of seaweed became unbearable.
You always talked about becoming something bigger than you were, of conquering the world and becoming something great. I liked listening to your stories, I liked listening to the plans you had for your future and I loved hearing you go on and on about how you were going to change music forever.
You played your guitar in the sand, smoking your cigarette, your hair tangled and wet. And I could see the enthusiasm and the confidence in you. It suited you so well.
When we got really drunk in the evenings, we skinny dipped in the ocean and giggled as we ran up to the cottage, were we wrapped ourselves up in our towels, and talked about the stars and the universe.
And on that beach I said the words that changed our lives forever. I said the words that broke our lives.
I used to love the way you looked at me. The piercing glance seemed to see all that was within me, it was as if I couldn’t keep a single secret from you because you knew me in a way no one else did, from the first day I met you.
We were only seventeen when we met. Your enthusiastic gaze made me love you from first sight and when I told you, you had beautiful eyes, you grinned at me and I knew right there and then that I would love you forever. I guess I was wrong.
Then, on that beach, the words came out of my mouth. Those bright, innocent words that brought it all down.
“I want to have your children” I said giggling. I was lying on my back, my red hair in all directions, covered in sand.
I saw the sun go down in your eyes then. The seriousness has never left your eyes since. I saw the darkness well up in you. You walked to me and you lay yourself on top of me and you kissed me, and for an instant I thought it was the most romantic moment of my life and maybe it was.
But it was then that I started to smell the seaweed, the thick heavy smell of seaweed that has been laying on the beach for too long. It was then that the enthusiasm died in your eyes and you stopped having grand plans for the future, you got down on one knee and you said those words, that’s bound us since then.
“Will you marry me, Magdalena?” you asked and I said yes and we twirled and we made love underneath the stars and you started making different plans, right away, as if the darkness had already filled you, as if you’d already let go of all your hopes and dreams, let them free into the dark night air, let them wander up to the stars to sleep there for eternity.
And you never looked at me the same way again either. The heat in your eyes died out, the enthusiasm got replaced by a man I never knew too well, a man I never really loved. And we went home singing our ballads, dancing, but you rarely picked up your guitar after we got married and you started to work at the car factory and we had Mary and John and we lived happily ever after.
And we lived happily ever after…