When I saw her she was dancing on the sand in the moonlight.
All day long I had been restless. The hot sun beating on the bleached sands, normally a source of delight, had made me seek shelter. The salty water had been too warm. I felt as though daylight was holding me prisoner. Even the roar of the surf seemed to be too loud, troubling a mood that I could not put into words.
Evening came. As the sun sank below the horizon I felt freer, but the lights of the hotel completely hemmed me in. Something out in the still night seemed to be calling me. Finally I went to bed.
I slept fitfully for several hours. Then, wide-awake, I stared at the glowing numbers on the clock. At 2 AM I could stand it no longer. I slipped from the bed, away from the bulk of my sleeping husband. Normally his body was exactly what held me and comforted me and lulled me to slumber. But tonight his deep breathing seemed to intrude on the silence that was surrounding me.
I pulled on a pair of shorts. I had been sleeping in nothing but a t-shirt. I disdained underwear. Pausing only to catch up my room card, I tiptoed to the door that connected to the adjoining room. My vision, already night sharp, confirmed the sleeping forms of my children were safe in their beds. Barefoot, I left the room, silently closing the door behind me.
A soft breeze was rustling through the trees. Without conscious thought, I took the path leading back down to the beach. At this hour no one was around. I came out onto the sands and the gust of an ocean breeze took my breath away.
The beach was white again under the gleaming rays of the full moon. Instead of burning the land as had the sun, the light seemed as gentle as the touch of the moist sand on my feet. The tide was slowly ebbing, leaving the sand firm and packed. The seventh wave washed up and swept over my ankles. Now the water was cool and I gasped at its caress. Moved by an impulse, I held my arms up to the moon as though I was offering it devotion.
I turned and my heart leaped up into my throat. For that was when I saw her.
Even now my mind falters when I try to describe her. I only know she seemed a slender shape that the moonlight covered as though it was her lover. She twirled and spun, now up on her toes, now running lightly back and forth across the smooth sand. I cannot even remember if she was dressed. At one moment I thought she was wearing a white garment that fell from her neck to her knees. At the next moment I thought that her silver hair and the sea breeze and the tang of the ocean air were her only garments.
She spoke not when she saw me, nor did her dancing stop. She only smiled and held out one hand to me. Desire swept over me, not only desire for her, but a desire to cast away the stuffiness and humdrum of my life and join her in whatever magical land she had come from. She danced away, backwards down the beach, now holding both hands out to me. As faint as if in a dream, I heard silvery, tinkling laughter. And I danced after her.
Down the beach we went. Now our hands touched and now they separated. Her fingertips would linger for a moment on my arms as I strove to keep up with her. My body moved to the music that I could not hear but only felt as my eyes burned over her form.
Where we went, I do not know. Tonight there were no lights on the strand. No boats cut through the water, no noise came over the dunes from the numberless resorts that were there. We were somehow in a world where only the two of us existed. Our dancing feet left no mark upon the sand.
.... There is more of this story ...