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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2219716-Life-Gives-and-Life-Takes
by Paul
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Drama · #2219716
She’s saw her life as patterns in the sand.


Lately I find myself here often, walking barefoot along the beach in the sand, watching the loathsome waves slowly roll in. They erase any pattern left by human or animal passers by leaving a clean slate for new information to be written on. When I told my doctor I did that he said it was good therapy and to keep doing it, maybe that’s why I come here so often.

When I walk in the wet sand I dig deep, curling my feet and squishing them into it, giving myself the tactile pleasure of feeling the gritty, wet sand slowly ooze between my clutching toes, then dancing images into the sand, outlines of ships, houses and creatures leaving a crooked series of impressions as a memory of my passing.

When I turn to look I see the next wave erase all memory of me and leave me standing ankle deep in wet sand. Watching that happen evokes a sense of impermanence over huge sections of my life. For some reason that calms me.

I grew up with parents that loved me, showing me a way of living I embraced, until I couldn’t any longer. Life has a way of doing that, showing wonder and excitement and a bright future filled with hope and love, then it yanks them away like a rug, leaving a lifeless hulk, spinning and stumbling around in the wreckage looking for balance.

When I was eighteen life and a storm took my parents by sinking their yacht. No trace was ever found.

Ten years later a man found me and I adored him. He became my husband giving me love and happiness and a son that had a sense of wonder and excitement I worshiped. I showed my son many different things and he absorbed them all. Watching his exuberance and joy of life as he grew was a marvel to me, until I couldn’t any longer.

Four years ago, on his eighteenth birthday and against my fervent wishes, his father took him deep sea fishing and the same loathed expanse of water was again complicit with life in taking them too. No trace has ever been found.

Six doctors later the current one said, “Life does that, it gives and takes, in your case it took a lot more.” He’s a good man and he tries, but he really doesn’t understand. No one does.

I wanted to say, “Well, No—Shit—Sherlock!” I didn’t. Instead I came here to think and go over everything again, making sure I understand the details and to see if my resolve is strong enough. I’ve hidden my real thoughts from him and everyone else.

Looking out across the restless water I see what appears to be a world-sized grey bowl, but is actually an infinity of cloud filled steel grey skies matching an uneasy steel grey ocean showing no horizon. I stand watching a clamshell of waves and clouds roil in from the invisible horizon where a new storm was brewing. Like seeing 2 open palmed hands reaching for me, one too scoop me up and the other to clamp me in.

I feel the first cool breeze of the new storm and taste the coppery salt. Thinking about the billions of years of its existence I wonder what creatures were dissolved in it that I was tasting. I haven’t liked the taste of salt since my parents died.

Watching the waves break as white-caps against the shore I remember all of them. My mother and father and all the wonderful things they taught me. I remember John, my husband, the big teddy bear I slept with and the snuggling warmth of him on cold winter nights. I remember our son, Liam Atticus, his laughter and squeal of glee when I would show him something new and he understood. I remember him sleeping between us on cold winter nights.

I can see them and hear them and smell them, my fathers aftershave with a French name I never learned to pronounce correctly according to my father, and the sand paper feel of his face even after a fresh shave.

My mothers Chanel number 5 and the soft, sweet smell of her as she pulled me into her arms. John always wore Brut because he said it made him feel manly, but he was the gentlest man I’ve ever known. Liam followed his father so with my eyes closed I couldn’t tell them apart. I feel a sadness not having a distinct smell for Liam.

I remember all this and the hugs and kisses and hour-upon-hour of conversations about any topic that caught our interest, some times going on until the sun rose signaling a new day and during these magical moments of memory I affirm my decision

Hoping the loves I’ve lost hear me I turn and whisper into the coming storm, “I’ll be there soon my loves. I’ll see you all tomorrow when the storm arrives.

The marina pier looks like a nice place to start my journey.”


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