Music Monday: Between Two Lungs


between two lungs: a fictional interpretation of a song by Florence + the Machine
Between Two Lungs: a fictional interpretation of a song by Florence + the Machine

Welcome to another Music Monday experience! Today, we’re diving in with a flash fiction interpretation of a song by Florence + the Machine! This particular story is a revision of an earlier post from several years ago, and though it isn’t currently a part of the world of novels I tend to write in, I’m sure it will eventually turn into one.

For now, though, enjoy reading while you listen and then let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

It’s a calming experience to run where everything changes.

My favorite was always the beach. When the tide is low, I could kick off my running shoes and run along the wet sand, my footprints slapping an imprint that would fade with the next kiss of the wave.

I used to like that no wave is ever the same; a dune can be blown away in a night; the remains of a sea life can be washed to shore and pulled back to the depths of the ocean within a matter of seconds.

The beach is a reminder that everything can change in an instant and nothing will ever be the same.

But then I met him.

He was the beach personified. He had eyes the same shade of blue ships set sail in and hair the color of sand.

We met last summer. He was a tourist, and I was the lucky tour guide he had booked as a joke.

“Who actually needs a tour guide for the beach?” he had asked.

“Old people mostly,” I had answered.

“What do you talk about? The tides?”

“Yes,” I had said. “And the local sea life, the most likely findings, the best places and times to collect… and sometimes the weather.”

“That sounds boring.”

“Some people prefer boring to silence.”

He didn’t respond, so he could prove his point. And I remember marveling at how I’d never met anyone as stubborn as the sea before he came along.

Later, I would learn he lived his life on the ocean, atop a sailboat his family had spontaneously docked at the only home I’d ever known. He referred to his parents as “The Nomads” because of their inability to stay in one place longer than six weeks. His life was an endless tide of coming and going.

“Who knows how long we’ll stay this time,” he’d said with a wistful glint in his eyes.

I would always find him at sunrise on the beach as I went for my morning runs. He claimed he couldn’t sleep until he watched the sun rise over the ocean.

“What do you do at night if you can’t sleep?” I asked him eventually.

“Think of you, mostly,” he said with a charming grin, and I blushed. “And sometimes I swim.”

“In the dark? Aren’t you scared?”

“What’s there to be afraid of?”

I knew he could never be mine to keep, but I waded into the uncharted waters he brought to my shoreline anyway.

On the Fourth of July, I found myself waist deep in the water with him, fireworks bursting in the night sky as we kissed for the first time.

My hair that night was soaked and sticking to my cheeks, but even caked in sand and sea, I’d never felt more beautiful and alive.

As the fireworks popped above my head and between my lungs, I knew he was going to change my life forever–even though I also knew our time together would never last.

One day, I knew, he would return to the sea and I would have to watch him leave from the shoreline.

But I never expected I wouldn’t get the chance to say goodbye.


The day the sea claimed his return, the official report would say he drowned but his body was never found.

When I heard the news, I couldn’t breathe. I gasped for air, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t fill my lungs. The space between them was trapped.

For a while, I couldn’t run.

For a while, I couldn’t stand the unrelenting push-and-pull of the beach; the way the sea gives and takes away with every breath.

But then...

I inhale and feel the trap release with my breath as it pushes past my lips.

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