The opening of my new book "To The Sea"
| CHAPTER 1
T O T H E S E A
To the sea.
Frank, a desperate man, driving down highway 8, at 95 M.P.H. in a quest for the sea. The old familiar water of the sea. The calming water of a clean blue ocean. Good old H20. It must be the hydrogen that did the trick. For oxygen, though polluted it may be, he got plenty of in the city. Take two hydrogen atoms to every one oxygen atom and you will be saved. It was just what the doctor ordered. Or would order, if he knew. It was the only thing that would work. The only thing that ever worked. To relieve this… madness.
He patted the duffel bag on the passenger seat, trying to stay calm. He unzipped it then zipped it up in a repetitive motion, keeping beat to some unconscious melody. The metal of the zipper felt cool to his fingertips. Quite the contrast to the fire he felt smoldering between his eyes.
He cracked his driver-side window down about an inch so that he would have some contact with the changing outside conditions. Hoping to use the outside conditions to change his inside condition.
His world was insane, his thoughts crazy, and his feelings indescribable. As the addict rushes to the drug of his choice, so he ran to the sea and relief from the pain. Liquid liberation. His only “cure.”
“Like a lemming,” he thought, and somehow he was able to smile, and actually take a full breath. With that first good breath, it seemed he hadn’t taken one in a week, he could begin to taste the salt in the air, and as the salt began to penetrate his lungs he could feel the weight upon his chest lighten. He felt as a fish out of water, dehydrated, that had received his first cool drink of water in days. It was the first step to being revitalized. And on the road as each mile passed he knew he was creeping closer. Like the dehydrated man who saw a rain cloud in the distance, he felt hope. He rolled down all his windows, leaving the air-conditioner on full blast. He felt the ocean breeze magnified as the air rushed into the windows of his speeding car, he imagined he was flying as the wind rustled his hair. The air-conditioner fought to cool the warm damp air that poured in from his open windows -- as futile as that of a simple fan in the throes of a hurricane. He could feel the salt in the air, not only by way of his lungs but he could feel it penetrating his pores. His common sense told him this was impossible, but he pushed those thoughts away. He coaxed the air to chase the toxins out from his skin. The toxins that he had gathered from a week in the city. More than his physical body, and more than his emotions—the ocean air cleansed his very soul.
With adrenaline coursing through his system, he saw the sign. The sign that told him that he was almost at his goal, his private paradise.
With burning eyes he read, “Highway ends ½ mile.”
It was everything he could do to keep from pressing the accelerator further to the floor, and instead actually ease up to eventually find the brake and swing his car off the exit. The last exit. The exit he always took when he was at the end of his rope. Which seems to be happening more frequently.
He placed one hand over onto his duffel bag keeping it from tumbling to the floor as he made a wild turn.
“Someday I will live here,” he thought, “and the madness will forever cease.”