We grabbed each others’ hands and started to run. It was one of those ecstatic moments you can’t quite recreate and you think only happen in movies. We laughed and ran towards the end of the pier. The beer flowed through our veins and the late afternoon sun kissed our faces. Before us laid the glittering blue of the Taiwan Strait. We raced, but never stopped holding hands. Around us families shared cotton candy and old people puttered around killing time. We reached the end of the pier where a railing kept us from dropping into the waters below. 

We laughed catching our breath and she pulled two very shaken beers from her purse. “I guess we both won,” she said, “looks like we both get one.” I laughed between huffs. All those years of smoking do a number to your lungs. I grabbed the beer and held it while I caught my breath. “Out of shape much?” She laughed between huffs of her own. “I thought you played soccer in highschool.” I laughed, “Yeah starting left bench for the all state team.” We laughed and cracked the beers to a geyser of foam. Nearby old people looked on in a mixture of amusement and disdain. We tinked the silver cans of Taiwan Classic and took a pull. They were still ice cold from the selven and it felt good after that run. 

We stared out at the water. Off in the distance, a cargo boat slowly steamed across the horizon, further out, what looked like a navy ship sat keeping the commies on their side of the strait. The afternoon was bright and my heart was full. We’d planned to come for the sunset, but it wouldn’t be for hours, the yellow orb was still high in the sky baking the pier in heat, this area was subtropical, but from the weather you’d swear there was nothing ‘sub’ about it. I’d already sweat through my shirt, though she looked dry. Girls have a way of staying fresh and beautiful in all climates. I was a sweaty, out of shape, ex-smoker gringo- I was screwed running in this weather. 

In my thirst I drained three quarters of the beer before I realized how fast I was downing it. It was the perfect refreshment for a day like today. I saw her shake her can, I know she’d downed the same amount. She looked over at me, her sunglasses sparkled in the sunshine. I saw myself reflected in the mirror finish. I guess that’s what she saw, though less distorted. My hair was tousled by the wind, her’s still perfect in the bun she tied before we ran. I laughed when she did it, and now I smiled at the memory. She smiled back and I grabbed her hand. 

“Another beer?” I asked. “Of course, I’m dying of thirst out here.” We laughed again and turned back towards the land, leaving our outpost over the gentle waves. The sun warmed my back as we walked. The old folks had cast aside their stares, just like how we dropped the cans into the color coded recycling bins. 

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