She’s saw her life as patterns in the sand.
|Lately I often find myself here, walking barefoot along the beach in the sand and watching the loathsome waves roll slowly in. They erase any pattern left by me or any other passersby, human or animal, leaving a clean slate for new information to be written on. When I told my doctor 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 and squishing my feet into it, giving myself the tactile pleasure of feeling the grit slowly ooze between my clutching toes, then dancing images into it: outlines of ships, houses and mythical creatures, leaving a crooked series of impressions as a memory of ME and MY passing.
When I turn to look back, I see the next wave erase all of what I’d written and leave me standing ankle deep in wet sand. Watching that happen evokes a sense of impermanence over my life and 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 and survival where there is none.
When I was eighteen my parents took their yacht out on a weekend trip I missed because I’d had a slight fever, and a storm took them. No trace has ever been found.
Eight years later a man found me. He cherished me and I adored him. He became my husband, giving me love and showing me happiness, I hadn’t had in a long time. He gave me 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 it wasn’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 a storm 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 and 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 what I was tasting. I haven’t liked the taste of salt since my parents died.
Watching the waves break as small 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 as a child on cold winter nights.
I can see them and hear them and smell them, my father's aftershave with a French name I never learned to pronounce correctly, according to my father, and the sandpaper feel of his face even after a fresh shave. I remember when he would put his arms around me for a hug and stand then spinning like a carousel, my legs flying out and me squealing with glee. I cry missing that sometimes.
My mothers Chanel number 5 and the soft, sweet smell of her as she pulled me into her arms. The feel of her hands on me and the clutching of her arms before a soft kiss on the top of my head and a wish for a good day. Her smile and breath that I remember smelling like a spring morning. I miss her teaching me how to make cookies and bake a cake and the incredible mess that she just laughed at and made a game of us cleaning up.
My husband, John, always wore Brut because he said it made him feel manly, but he was the gentlest and the manliest man I’ve ever known. I remember his gentle touch and his ability to fold me gently in his arms and make me feel like nothing could be wrong in the world with him holding me. It couldn’t as long as he held me, but that stopped too.
Liam did everything his father did so with my eyes closed I couldn’t tell them apart. I feel a sadness not having a distinct smell for Liam. But I remember the glee he would show discovering something new. I remember him finding a sand-dollar and studying it, turning it and shaking sand out then bringing it to John and me to explain.
I remember the tastes of everyone when we’d kiss.
All this and the hugs and kisses and hour-upon-hour of conversations about any topic that caught John’s or Liam’s or my interest, sometimes going on until the sun rose signaling a new day. 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 long pier looks like a nice place to start my journey.”