Beaches are on my mind. The one constant for me about beaches is that my loving Charles was always with me when I was on them. Our first beach together was in Acapulco when we were on our honeymoon. We visited various other beaches in places such as Nassau, Nice, St. Croix, St. Martin, Hawaii, Jordan, and several beaches in Florida. Stone Harbor at the Jersey Shore was our favorite.

Some of my favorite things at the beach—in addition to the sand, sun, and water—were sipping the varied piña coladas, reading books that had piled up on my bedside table, and eating the kinds of sweets and snacks that were forbidden in other settings.

When I would tire of reading, I would ask Charles questions about himself that, when he would answer, never failed to elicit some new information about the man with whom I was spending my life. On some occasions, we would share our fantasies and dreams about the future, while other times we would reminisce together. Recollections beginning with “remember when” tended to elicit a lot of laughter. The memory was usually about some embarrassing moment that was not funny at the time but oh-so-hilarious now.

As Charles and I sat side-by-side, there would be long stretches of time when, in complete silence, we just stared at the water. As I looked out over the water, I usually felt a deep sense of humility. Everything was aligned and put into perspective through no effort of my own.

When we were on the beach, it seemed as if we were alone in our own world even though surrounded by people up and down the shore. This was our time to be easily and naturally fully engaged with one another without expectations or distractions. It was just us.

It was on the beaches where I felt most emotionally intimate with my life partner. It’s hard to articulate the specifics of bliss, but the contentment and happiness I felt during our time on the beaches was about as close to bliss as I’ve ever been.

 I miss having time at the beach with Charles.

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