Tiny yellowish-brown specks whirl around my neatly painted toes as a layer of foamy white water is being pulled by the uncompromising current back out to an unforgiving sea. For an instant, nothing is beneath me. It's only as the last grain of sand disappears that another shore rushes forward. A temporary balance restored.
As I inhale the salty air, I notice that my watch has stopped ticking. Both hands are still inside its gold frame, marking the moment for a new battery. But I don't need a reminder of another passing hour. Time has begun to pull at me like the tide. Like the frayed ends of my worn out sweater, which I can get over my head but something about it just doesn't suit. My sweater matches the outdated wash of clapboard cottages that line this beach: dim hues of mint green and sherbet orange. All begging to be remembered.
Nearby, a half-dilapidated sandcastle struggles to stand against the tide. A child has forgotten to take in the small striped pail used for construction. It, too, is swept away.
I'm not here to build sandcastles.
My heart is hidden somewhere beneath the dunes behind me. I buried it here last autumn to the ding of a thousand wind chimes and chorus of a dozen seagulls circling overhead. Together, they wove a hymn of tranquillity.
The weight of my heart had become too heavy to carry alone. So, I brought it here for safekeeping- wrapped in a paisley printed scarf and tied with a beige twisted paper cord. I haven't missed its beating or rhythm. Its pounding or pressure. After a few weeks without it my body adjusted to its absence, operating as if it had never been a part of me. As if it had always existed parallel to the rest of my being.
An echo has followed me from beneath those ridges of sand. It finds me when I´m in the company of complete silence. A faint murmur of drumming disrupts the quiet. When it begins to thump wildly, demanding to be heard, I come back. I stand atop the dome-shaped dunes, my limbs rejoicing to be whole again. However, I'm still unable to unearth this tenderness of mine, sinking lower into the ground each day.
Lifted by a gentle breeze, the prickling wool of my sweater starts to scratch my neck. I turn to face the solemn hills sprinkled with bent grass. Perhaps one day I'll approach them, shovel in hand, eager to restore my broken soul. For now, I'll continue my wandering towards solitude along the curling water. I pull my sweater closer and reach for a pack of smokes from my back pocket. Smoking isn't allowed out here but neither is feeding the gulls and people do it all the time.
The low horn of a ship groans in the distance. One long hooooooonk. It's changing course to starboard.
I look down as another wave breaks upon my feet.