Summer love can be fleeting–hell maybe it’s supposed to be–but fifteen minutes can occasionally last a lifetime.

Maybe you can add a few minutes to our affair since technically I saw her across the beach an hour before we spoke a word.

But is it love if it’s only in my head? Is it love if it’s just a smile, a hint of a tan line, and a face that reminds me of a glorious heartbreak?

I would like to say that I wanted her. I’d prefer to tell you it was simply a glandular reaction to my visual intake, but if that were the case I probably wouldn’t still be thinking of her ten years later.

Our first date happened the exact moment she waved at me on her way to the boardwalk. I stood up and she stopped walking, and let’s just admit that a whole year passed by in those few moments of love. Her laughter was endless dinners and late night strolls, and when she took my hand before either of us said a word, our touch was the trepidation of meeting her parents the day before Christmas Eve.

Under the boardwalk, we kissed frantically–hidden in the shadows from the world behind us. It took six months to undo her top and another half a year before she held me in her hand, our breath short and our love unstoppable. After the wedding, she knelt in the sand and took me into her mouth, but the honeymoon was brief as I pulled her to me and pushed her against the cold pylon.

She slid down her bikini bottoms on her own, her graduate degree completed in record time. And as she giggled while I struggle to find the right angle, we had a thousand dinner parties with a ten thousand friends.

And my god when I fucked her, my lips on the back of her neck, we were happy. For months at a time, we were happy, growing older and smarter, and our nerve and our love of everything grew deeper until we could no longer tell each other apart.

Her fingers between her legs renewed our vows, and as she clenched around me while I sold my first novel, I noticed the first sign of friction. Yes it was skin on skin and the shadows were nowhere as discreet as we once thought, but we would make it because our love would last forever!

She came as her career winded down, and I followed right behind her, my deep moans expressing the constantly growing fear of my own mortality. Her hand on my hand on her stomach was sorrow and then forgiveness. When I helped her with her swimsuit and she turned to kiss my lips we sighed without passion or regret. We laughed as only old couples can laugh, and I squeezed her bottom as she told me she had to get back to her friends.

She turned halfway back down the beach and blew me a kiss, and I held her hand as friends gathered around whispering words of comfort. I too walked out into the light and everything had changed. The sky was bluer, the ocean louder, and the cries of the sunbathers more and more distant.

Summer love can be fleeting. It can come and go in a moment, and in our case, it was fifteen minutes of joy and sorrow with a lifetime of memories wrapped up in one silly, foolish, and wonderfully brief fuck.