To Know the Dawn
by Nix Winter
Written for the YA LGBT on Goodreads
Inspired by the photo Kit nominated
The washer was red.
Maybe that was what caught my attention.
Standing there in the crisp November rain, chill trickling down the back of my neck, I wasn't wearing a dark turtleneck anymore. I ran along a stone so warm my boots felt like paper. Sea danced in the moist air and I don't know how I knew it was the sea, but I did, as if I'd known it all my life.
"Aeneas!" Joyful, the voice reached deeper into me than the sea ever could.
I turned, my wrists crossing behind my head, my grin as broad as the path of the sky. A very tiny chill of fear spiraled up through my soul as if this were not a dream I could change the outcome of, but a memory and a memory I knew the outcome of. "Philip!"
Bare chested, the sun gifted his olive skin with a sheen, shadowed the lines of his body, the soft beauty of his face, and I wanted to run to him, wrap my arms around him, but I stood there, hips cocked to the side. His hair fanned around his shoulders, dark as midnight, dark as his eyes and right there on the street he rose up on his toes and kissed me. I kissed back, willing with all my soul to press it deeper, to take him as deeply as any man ever took a lover, but I didn't. His eyes glittered with playful joy and he pressed one more soft kiss to my lips. "I got it. Let's go down by," he said, coyly, pink tongue touching the corner of his mouth.
I knew exactly what he meant.
I knew things I couldn't know when this wasn't a memory.
His hand grasped mine, holding onto mine as if nothing the Gods could ever do would separate us and Crete was the safest and most wonderful place.
We ran together, towards the beach, towards plans we'd been scheming for months, really, maybe since the moment we were old enough to actually look at each other.
Through the market and the laughing complaints of shopkeepers and shoppers, cat calls because even in that moment, my face burning as hot as the sun, I knew everyone knew. Our love was like that moment when the dawn breath's warm against the dark of night and you know what will happen. There is nothing to be done about it. Those that weren't Philip or I had little choice, no more choice than they had with watching the dawn blossom into life, all they could do was watch our love. I squeezed his hand, brushed my shoulder against his, laughed.
We crested the path overlooking our beach. He groaned. There were people, half a dozen or so, picking beached fish off the soggy sand. He pressed a hand over his face, rubbing his eyes. "Today, the gods give them fish. Damn, it'll be half a breath before my aunt is down there."
"There's not that many fish," I pointed out. "They won't be there that long. I've never seen the water do that. I bet the fish were surprised."
He snorted. "I've got hard issues here," he complained, "and you're worried about the fish?"
I moved behind him, wrapped my arms around him, my chin on his shoulder, hid my face against his warm sweet smelling neck. "We can go anywhere you want. As long as I'm with you, I don't care where we are."
The wall of water felt like it cast a shadow on us. I held him tighter. I should have kissed him. I should have ran. I wanted to run, but I just stood there, arms around my Philip, watching the world end.
"I'll find you," he promised, "No matter what happens - I'll find you."
Words were as beyond me as kisses.
He sat on a red washing machine, watching me, with dark curly hair and eyes dark as midnight. The florescent lighting shadowed his face. He titled his head, smiled at me, such a familiar smile as if I'd known him all my life, even before.
A rush of warm hit me as I opened up the laundromat and stepped into little French corner of the world. The scent of the sea lilted in the warm humidity of the place, so different from the dark drizzle outside.
Joy swirled, gathered in my core, fluttering at the back of my through, through my belly and this was no dream, no memory that I couldn't change. He leaned forward. Elbows on the edge of the washer, I rose up on the balls of my feet. "I'm Andy."
His kiss brushed across my lips, tender, like coming home. Neither of us reached to hold onto the other in that moment. We didn't have to. The currents of life were holding us together with more certainty than dawn. "I'm Philip."
"I knew that," I said and I did.