“No, I’ve never been. Why is that so surprising?” I questioned, looking around the spacious field that went on for miles. The sun felt like it was slowly creeping up on us, reaching the back of our necks in the late morning as Fowler reached down to grab a stick, shaped perfectly for walking and gave it to me.
It was my first time in South Carolina after he insisted I visit and see where he lives. He decided he wanted to get out and show me something so here we are. My hair was pulled back into a scarf and I wore my khaki shorts and an oversized concert tee. Fowler was walking with his shirt tied around his head and some red basketball shorts that hung a little too low for my liking. You could easily tell he didn’t have anything on underneath. Neither of us had on shoes as we stepped through the soft grass, giving me strict instructions on following his path.
“It’s surprising because you surrounded by places that got water, that’s why,” he said. “Everybody I know been to the beach.”
“Well not me,” I quipped with a pout.
“You ever seen water?”
“Like at a pool?”
Fowler looked back at me over his shoulder with a shameful shake of his head.
“You moving too slow, come on.”
“It’s getting wet and muddy out here,” I complained, feeling my toes sink further into the ground as Fowler stopped walking and grabbed my arm to pull me forward. Without warning, he wrapped my arm over his shoulder from the back, signaling for me to climb on to his back like a child. I was hesitant at first because I felt like we were nearly the same height but as soon as I picked my leg up, he gripped the back of my thigh as I screamed. The sudden strength from pulling me up and over, adjusting to my weight caught me off guard as I wrapped my arms around his neck, and held on.
“As soon as you see it, you gon be like wooowww,” he gassed, pretending to sound surprised, “wow Fowler, you’re the greatest man on earth. How can I ever live without you? I never wanna leave South Carolina…”
I hid my smile in his locs, loving the smell of the coconut and mint, and I knew he felt it because he smiled too.
“You thought about what I said?” he went on, moving forward through the marsh lands. Gone were the dry fields as everything around us began to get watered down. He was walking towards the edge of the coastline.
“Finding your other family?”
“You’re not changing my mind about it. I plan on searching for my birth records, asking around and seeing what people know.”
“What if you don’t like what you find? What if we’re related?”
“We’re not,” I assured him. “Why are you so against it?”
“Because that means you’re leaving me. A nigga done found his peace in you and you wanna walk away from that? What about me?”
“What about you?”
Fowler stopped and almost bucked me off his back as I squealed, clinging to his body.
“I outta knock yo ass straight the fuck off me,” he threatened through his teeth, but there was a playfulness to his tone. He did that a lot I noticed. Threatened, get serious but knew not to push it because I would react, hence the playful nature. A a part of him was still very much intimidated by me.
“You saying you won’t miss me?” he questioned. “Since you gon be leaving and off doing whatever with whoever?”
“I never said that,” I told him. “You said that, not me.”
“So tell me what I’m tryna hear then,” he stated, pausing as he looked to the side, waiting for me to speak.
“I’m saying, Fowler...that I won’t miss you because I expect you to be there by my side every step of the way. You wouldn’t have it any other way and neither would I…”
I watched his eyes looking off into the distance, mulling over my words before nodding as he continued to walk.
“Tell me what you remember?” he said as I closed my eyes, “do you remember your sisters? Do you remember the person who approached you?”
“I don’t remember any of it, especially after meeting you...it's all a blur. Like a dream of some sort…You know more than I do at this point.”
“I think you need to meet my sister. If not my sister, you need to meet my mama. She may know what’s going on. I’ll see what I can do on my end, see what these spirits talking about. We can find yo family, where you come from and how you got to be the girl you are today… Now, what you want for dinner tonight? You like that catfish I made you the other night? Them nuggets?”
“Mmmm, it was delicious chef Fowler,” I expressed with a kiss in the air.
As soon as he came to a stop, he pointed for me to look ahead as my mouth dropped at the different waves and lanes of water streaming all throughout the coastline. Breaking up into bits and pieces of islands and marshlands but just up ahead, you could see the ocean. Fowler’s feet was almost knee deep in water with no fear as the sun sparkled just a little more over the water.
I stretched one foot down to touch the cold water before slowly sliding down from his body to stand close to him, keeping my grip tight on his arms until I was standing before him. Facing the water, I pulled out my phone to take pictures of us, smiling with our sweat filled faces and closed my eyes the moment I felt his lips touch my cheek for a kiss.
“Beautiful,” he whispered.
to be continued....
(May post another one tonight.)