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  • There was a church, or was it a cathedral? But it was in Spain and in Spain there is a beach. A sea. And you are walking away from the church (cathedral). You are following the railroad tracks. It leads up. Upward. Now. You are walking along the edge of a cliff. It drops. You can see the church (cathedral) behind you. It is small. And there is the scent of dust and herbs. It smells like thyme. Like sage. The sea is to your right. Careful! You are on a cliff. You can see. Below. The swelling waves. White caps.

    The guide book says. There is a beach. A nude beach. You keep walking. Others have walked before you. A bottle cap. A button. A condom (unused).

    Finally. You arrive. There is a path. Pebbles. Steep. Down. It leads to the beach. A gravelly beach.

    And there you find. Nakedness. Men. Salmon color. Pinkish. You cringe. Not quite the pornography that propelled you. Graybeards. Pot-bellies. Germans. British. French. Where are the virile natives? The Spaniards. With chestnut eyes. Lips. Like sangria.

    But you swim. And the sea. The sea. The water is buoyant. Saltier. Warmer than the Pacific. And you swim. Each lap you swim. You tell yourself. I cannot believe it. I am here. I am in Spain. In the sea. Like a postcard.

    Later. You will climb up again. The trail back. In the bushes. Redolent with the dust-thyme-sage. You will find a Spaniard.

    Ah! They hide behind the trees. Olive trees. Olive skin. Wild. Men. Over there! A satyr. With the chestnut eyes you wanted. He beckons you with a finger.You follow him into the woods.

    There is a mat of leaves. He takes off his shirt. You. Suddenly shy. You turn around before unbuckling. The sunlight slants against his chest. Shadows of leaves across his face. Here you are with your pornography.

    A man tastes like salt and cumin. A man lies next to you. His eyes are human. Not glossy paper. His hands have a sensation. Not imagination.

    Here is his flesh. His ribs. Neck. Fingers. And the waves. Can you hear it? The sea. The sea. How it blends together. The sound of your satisfaction. His.

    Afterwards. He offers you a tissue. He kisses your forehead. He walks away. You hear the sound of his sandals. The broken leaves.

    There. You sit. For a moment. Still naked. Alone. Now. You feel this sadness. This ebbing. And so you kneel. You begin to pray.
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