Who cares what people think? That's what he tells me as we lay in the sand. He looks up at me--eyes squinting from the bright sun--and silently challenges me to leave my bathing suit woes back home. I shrug my shoulder, laugh a little, then apply more sunblock. He runs into the water and dives in headfirst into an oncoming wave, popping up a few seconds later to wave me in. I wave back, pretending to respond to his salutation instead of invitation, but he then uses both arms to call me into the ocean.
I drag my feet in the hot sand and slowly make my way into the water. I jump on his back and he says we're going out deeper. No, no. With my arms held tightly around his neck, I remind him of that one time when I needed to be saved by a lifeguard. He says I shouldn't worry because being saved by an Australian lifeguard would make my day. You'd probably even request CPR, he says. His laughter ricochets off the water.
We lay under the shade of the umbrella we rented from the hotel. The green and white one that makes us feel like tourists. He sips loudly on his drink and I shush him because I'm reading, and then he wipes the tears from my face because I tell him Wang Lung dies. He doesn't know what this means, but he nods knowing I'm reading a good book. Then he smiles at me in a way that lets me know we're okay.
I'm okay. He's okay. Together. In Australia doing life. Together.