Up in the sky a full moon the color of a pure, sweet tropical pearl cast a glow over the trees, the only light besides the lone street lamp at the end of the cul-de-sac. For a moment, I felt like the only person on earth.
Crossing the street, I ignored the gravel and small rocks that bit into my toes and heels until I could sink my feet into the blessed relief of cold, winter sand.
I walked along the beach for a long time—right where the tide met the sand--unaware of time passing as the water tickled my toes. I played tag with the waves, tried to avoid the never-ending cycle of tides as they rolled in. I lost more times than I won.
I didn’t have any firm destination in mind as I walked, but when I ended up a mile or so down the beach at my thinking rock, I wasn’t surprised. I’d been coming here for six years, whenever life got to be too much for me and, geez, did this week ever qualify as too much.
I climbed the craggy rock swiftly, my hands and feet finding familiar footholds in the rough crevices. Though I was fast, I was also careful—my legs and hips, even the back of my right hand bore numerous scars from the mistakes I’d made while climbing here in the past.
The ocean seethed in a crazed cacophony while I settled myself at the top of the rock, a perfect reflection of my mood as I looked out over the water I both loved and despised, praying for just a little bit of the peace I usually got when I was out here alone.
But there was no peace tonight. How could there be? The ocean throbbed and pulsed while the very air itself crackled with electricity.
I gazed out over the waves as I searched my very limited knowledge-base trying to figure out how the hell to get out of the mess I was currently in. Things were happening so quickly that I couldn’t find a way to stop them.
I didn’t know how to stop them.
“No!” I screamed so loudly that my throat hurt. “No, no, no!” Again and again until my voice was hoarse and my throat raw.
The ocean seemed to pulse in and out in time with my screams and I watched, fascinated, as wave after wave pounded the shore—each one bigger and harder than the one before.
It was great surfing weather. Dangerous, sure, if you didn’t know what you were doing, but good nonetheless. For a minute, I longed for my board, the call of the ocean so strong that it was painful.
You don’t need a board. The thought slipped in slyly. You’re a strong swimmer. Go on out there and see what you’re really made of.
Overhead, lightning crackled, was followed closely by a burst of thunder that shook my rock and the ground beneath it.
Go ahead, the little voice at the back of my head whispered again. You know you want to.
And I did want to, so badly that I could almost taste it. That was the kicker in all of this—a part of me longed to give myself over to the violent water, a part that was getting harder and harder to deny.
What would it hurt? the voice urged. A swim, a chance to—
I was off the rock before I knew what I was doing, heading towards the ocean with a single-minded purpose I couldn’t imagine denying.
My gills ached. My lungs burned, blistered. My skin stung, itched, like a thousand wasps had gotten to me.
Yes, go. The voice was louder now, more insistent. Triumphant even. And I gave myself to it. Let it pull me to where I wanted to be anyway.
I walked a few steps closer to the water, the sand squishing beneath my toes.
You belong there. You need to be in the water, to feel it around you. Beneath you.
The water lapped at my ankles, my calves. I took another step, then another. Felt it on my knees, my thighs. The cold sting of it penetrated my near trance-like state and I stopped, confused.
Just a little more, a few more steps. The voice was clearer now—ringing in my head, in my ears. Flowing through me until it was a drumbeat in my blood. Until it was all I could think about. All I could feel.
I took another step. Then another and another and another. The water was around my chest now and I was only going deep enough to—
“No!” Another voice, fainter and more frantic than the first. “Tempest, stop!”
Ignore him, said the first voice. You’ve wasted enough time. Come to me. Come to your home.
Have a wonderful Wednesday!