I’m listening to Bob Marley, High Tide Or Low Tide as you read this, the bass gently pulsing into my ears. She’s in front of me, hurriedly writing the lyrics I’m dictating to her on the brickwork of the narrow alley, lit by a single sickly yellow streetlight. Both my hands are working their way up her summer dress, pushing it up past her hips until I get a firm heel kick into my shins.

“Patience, boy. It is a virtue, and you are badly in need of one.” It’s a cycle we go through. My hands drop. She smiles over her shoulder and pushes herself into my groin, because she can and she knows what this does. Rinse and repeat.

“So what next?”

In high seas or low seas… I’m gonna be your friend.

“….gonna…be… your…. friend.” The pen is busy on the smooth wall.

Why are we doing this? Fuck knows. I don’t care, and she does less. Sometimes when I ask why we would climb a particular tree or hot wire a specific car she tells me off for “always trying to contextualize everything.” It’s a fair point.

She tells me; “I just want to be. Isn’t that enough?” I guess that is context, but I don’t be that smart ass.

I’m here for the perfume and the energy, that’s my context. She has these eyes, and forgive me for this, that stop time. I look at myself in the mirror and see a battered and crumbling cliff face saved forever by a magically, perpetually calm sea. Sure there is chaos – there always is when you are trying to bump start a BMW straight off someone’s actual drive in 3am snow, or running out of a store changing room with a completely different outfit to the one you came in with. I don’t know how we aren’t in prison right now. But we aren’t, so that must mean we are doing something right. Something good even.

God guide us and protect us…

She wrinkles her nose, looking at me over her shoulder. “Really?”

I nod. And when we are wrong, please correct us.

“…okay we can miss that bit out.”

I’ve always loved plans and strategies, even as a kid. I wasn’t particularly militaristic. I never played Cowboys & Indians, never imagined myself shooting Nazis or playing out medieval battles with long sticks for swords. But I am fascinated by drawn maps in the sand, by scribbles on the backs of cigarette packets. The timings of watches; Okay, you go to that aisle and grab this. I’ll be here. The signal is the lunchtime bell. We’ll meet again under the bandstand. If I’m not there by three, go home the back way. It’s what I do, because she can’t. And when she kisses me just before a ‘mission’ we both know this.

Anyway, this is a tame night by the usual standards but we’re both tired. We haven’t showered in three days after pitching a tent on the beach to watch an Atlantic storm roll in. We’re still finding sand in each other’s crevices. My lips are chapped dry. I run my hands up a pair of bristled thighs and push the dress up again. She doesn’t stop me this time; the song is nearly over and the bite of her lip tells me it is time. So she scribbles the last few lyrics in haste before flinging the pen, spinning around and sucking me into her arms. It’s a good place to be.

High tide or low tide…. I’ll be by your side.

Author: jimmicampkin

Writer and photographer (and occasional other things) currently living in the North East of England. Everything is my own unless otherwise stated. So blame me.

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