A million stars and the sound of the ocean we couldn't see and he wanted to know what I thought about God. I was surprised that he was asking, more surprised to realize we'd never talked about it before. Five months, and we'd never talked about it, magically avoiding it without knowing we were avoiding it. We did that.

The stars make me calm I said.   Look, there's God.   I would have left it at that but he thought I was kidding. And he'd been to college and wanted to win an argument. I didn't say much; then I didn't say anything while he shredded what I'd said, repeated my words with invisible, mean quote marks around them. He laughed at me. His head was in my lap the whole time. I should have slapped him, should have dumped his heavy head in the sand, stolen his keys and run away. At the very least, I should have ended it.

I was running away, and I had my parents' permission, and I had my aunt's permission, and I had my manager's permission. They all let me leave for three weeks to 'take some time off'. Three weeks that we all knew would just be escapism and nothing more, late nights and tears and laughter and getting drunk in Israel instead of New York. Three weeks when I could pretend it all made sense, or forget that none of it made sense and not have to deal with it.

So we sat on the Tel Aviv beach, myself and this boy, toes in the sand and chairs sinking in. Watermelon and beer and music filtering out from the open-walled dining room behind us.

They rolled in, wave after wave after wave after wave, in and in and on and further and more, as the round earth turns. We fell silent, grinned, talked, fell silent, and I was trying so hard to remember why it was I could never go back home and face it all again.

'I can't go back.'

He laughed and I laughed, and the waves rolled in, and I wasn't even mad at him for making light of it. It was turning cool but the sand was still warm on our feet, and we laughed at the absolute finality of my stupid statement.

(I went back).

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