It is a cloudy day, when they finally make it to the seaside.
Maurice wished that they could come earlier; they planed and re-planed for weeks. For other people, it might be only a question of logistics: timetable, money, nutrition, transport etc. For them, all is different. Because they are different.
They had to listen to the weather forecast with care; whenever the weather promised to be simply perfect for a day at the seaside, they instantly knew that this day would not been theirs. They had to listen to their neighbours and their co-workers; all the people who might or might not be able to recognize them. They had to do their best to avoid any potential encounters with peoples, strangers or not. They knew that they could not speak about their plans in public.
In the beginning, Maurice’s lover had the idea of going at night, or at least, in twilight. “At dawn, before the rest of the world, would that not be exciting,” he gushed. His eyes were full of mischief and hope, reckless. Alec had not changed much, and Maurice loved him even more for it. However, Maurice knew that he - once again - had to be the sensible one.
Some things had changed over the years; running away from all you know and starting anew will do that. Even more, when it is the love that dare not speak its name as the driving force. And love it is, was and hopefully forever will be between Alex and him, Maurice.
Love changed Maurice.
He feels free these days, ironic as it may sound. He is no fool – he knows what fate would await them both if they were to be found out – but it remains true: Maurice feels free, at last. Because there is an imminent freedom in being yourself. These days, he can look at himself in a mirror, and when his lover is smiling behind him (or doing even more...), Maurice can see his older self smile back.
On such an occasion, his lover had come up with the idea. It was a spur of a moment; his lover is still so much more at ease, full of energy, full of unabashed joy. Alec had said simply: “Let’s go to the sea.” The – it has been a while – went unspoken.
They have a special fondness for the open water. Maybe it is because they are English, maybe it is because they met at the bathhouse. Who knows? Maurice had stopped introspection when they left society. He might be the sensible sort of the two but people change when they change.
And maybe this is the reason why they both want to go to the seaside: to witness the tide turning. No wave is like the next. This is the fix point in the never-ending change.
His lover as so many times before, countless times and still unforgotten, rushes him along. Maurice should remind him to slow down, or to lower his voice, or he can run towards him instead, and maybe even surprise them both with taking Alec's hand.
After all, Maurice has changed.