You’re not an exhibitionist—the opposite really, both you and your friend are, if anything, too modest—but there’s really only one way to go night-swimming, isn’t there?

Besides, it’s pretty dark—no moon or stars to speak of—so the two of you run down to the water’s edge, peel off your clothes, and dive, giddy, into the Atlantic. The waves are tumbly and fun, the temperature perfect: seemingly chilly at first until, at some point, you realize the air is colder than the water and you just want to stay in forever and become a mermaid.

But eventually your eyes get burny and your knees are bashed up from being tossed into the shallows, and you want to get out.

And that’s when three people come and situate themselves in beach chairs between you—butt nekkid—and your condo.

At this point, if you’re my sister-wife, you begin to giggle uncontrollably. If you’re me, you spin paranoid fantasies about how they’re voyeur/entrepreneurs, who’ve positioned themselves there with night-vision cameras, and your bare-assed jiggliness is gonna be on YouTube tomorrow, followed by a string of less-than-complimentary comments.

Eventually, you sprint out of the water at a half-crouch and wrap yourself haphazardly in your towel, or maybe that’s your T-shirt—whatever—and scurry up to the boardwalk over the dunes, hoping you managed to pick up your underpants in the kerfuffle.

The next day, you learn it was just the folks in the condo next door who had come out to sit and drink some beers, and who had set down their chairs there because they mistook your squeals of delight for dolphin calls. No spy cameras, no Internet-wide embarrassment. The neighbors didn’t even really see anything.

But that’s when you realize, it didn’t even matter if they did, because the previous evening’s blood pressure spike and worry and insecurity won’t stop you from skipping down the beach that night and doing it all again. And it’s a good thing too because

the stars are out,

the half-full moon has propped itself on the roof of a villa down the beach,

the tumbling waves are phosphorescent,

and there is just nothing,

nothing,

nothing,

like skinny-dipping

in the ocean

at night.