Waves lap at the fine sand between Takahiro’s curled toes, the ocean whispering to him in a language as mysterious as it is calming. Shadows dance over the ground, palm tree shaped ghosts that meet the sea at midnight like secret lovers, and the wind an invisible guardian watching over them.
Cicadas click and sing where they’ve taken shelter for the night, in stalks of grass and on trees and bushes, and Takahiro closes his eyes, takes a deep breath. With each inhale he tastes salt on the back of his tongue, the cool air breathing life into his city lungs.
Coming out here was a good idea. With the rest of his friends asleep, back at the hotel, he feels like the beach belongs to him alone just for tonight.
The moon shines bright in the clear, cloudless sky, stars sprinkled across deep navy blue. Eyes following the up and down of their reflections on the waves, Takahiro sits down in the sand, feels it tickling his palms. He lets his gaze wander across the horizon, a blurry line in the distance feeding into the darkness of the night.
Letting himself wallow in quiet solitude, Takahiro’s mind slips into a state of immobility, drifting around one and the same thing. A sigh slips from his mouth and sails away on the seaside breeze. Knees pulled up to his chest, he rocks gently back and forth with the push and pull of the ocean.
All sense of time escapes him under the blanket of the night sky, and it feels like hours pass before he takes note of the soft crunch of naked feet in the sand, until he feels a presence close by, familiar, radiating warmth.
“Thought I’d find you here,” comes a voice like smoke and cinders.