“Let’s go, come on! It’s just one weekend and we both need a break!”
He did not need to say much to convince me. It was April, winter was just over, the city was still cool, and the sombreness of the muddy days was still hovering over the streets.
I needed to get away from everything. From my job, the seriousness of all the files endlessly piling up and deadlines that had somehow managed to get hold of my life. I felt boring and flat like the city I lived in. So, I said: “Why not?”
Thus, off we drove to the warmer southern coast.
When I was a kid, my parents used to take me to tiny solitary beaches hidden between rocky entrances. In those remote pieces of saved land, I lay drying on a towel on the sand with the sun warming my back while water found its way down my skin. As the smell of the sun-dried towel dug its way into my memory, I listened to the humming of the earth under me. I listened to small creatures tunneling their way in the sand, building kingdoms, reigning the underworld. I followed tiny grains of sand all the way to the line where the water brushed over the flattened shore. I listened to the rustle of the waves. I listened to the power of water to give and take, as waves moved to and fro.
Watching the world from such a close angle at such a quiet spot made me also realize how inescapably lonely I was. My parents were there on the beach with me, but they were somewhere else, on another land. While I saw the sand grains or heard the force of the water, they were watching a different world from mine. Thus, I accepted a reticent existence to be shared with no other.
Until I met him.
He, too, was quiet like I. Bit by bit, with words unuttered, from shy sparkles in each other’s eyes, a slight touch, a breath let out in silence, we grew closer. Little by little, we allowed each other in. We allowed ourselves to be discovered by the other. In silent whispers, we spoke and we shared our existence.
We shared nights and days together; meals at the dinner table and chocolate in bed, wine from the bottle and tea under the blanket. We shared our thoughts and aspirations, our likes and dislikes, our passions and fears. We grew tomatoes and shopped for chairs. We grew on each other, internalized one another…
So, when he suggested a trip to the seaside, I knew my answer. We both needed to be away from the solid cement of the city to recalibrate our gentle harmony.
Thus, we boarded our car and drove southward towards sunnier days.
We found a nice quiet beach, just like the ones my parents used to take me. We soaked ourselves in the sea water, until all city gloom was cleansed from our bodies, and swung our weights on the cool soft waves till we felt as light as a feather.
When I lay on my towel, and watched the sand, this time, the grains took me to him, at the line of the water brushing the sand. This time, the sound of the earth and water, blended with his soft strokes on the water. This time, my world was not solitary. I had him to marvel at the grandiosity of the sea and the complicated beetle realm with me. I had another pair of eyes and ears to absorb the surroundings with me.
Lying on the towel, I watched him, enter the water, and peacefully, I closed my eyes.
When I woke up, I listened to his steps on the sand and followed with my ears his actions. I heard him behind me, drying with his towel. I turned around, smiling. I saw his towel, disarrayed on the sand. He was not there.
I looked at the open water, searched for his head bobbing over the surface. I examined the sea, not to miss him in between the waves, and reflections of dimming light. I watched carefully, to see him appear from a deep dive, or come back from a long swimming venture.
I waited to catch sight of him in the sea and over the land. I searched him in between waves and rocks. I looked for him until I could see nothing in utter darkness. Finally, I returned, once again, utterly solitary in existence.
In time, I came to accept, with quiet trepidation, that nature, whose power I deferred to, whose processes I admired and sought to find equilibrium in, had fumbled up the joy I had found in another. The waves offered me company in my loneliness, but took away the break I had taken from my isolated existence.
Sometimes, in between the streets, on my way to work, buying tomatoes at a store or on the window of a furniture store, I catch a glimpse of him. Momentarily, the loneliness is lifted until it sinks in again and I am reminded, nature gives and takes at its own will, and we can only watch and accept it.
Written in response to “Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes”