Sunday, August 06, 2006

On the beach

I remember one of the last days we spent together. It was a Sunday afternoon; we decided to go to the beach. It was early May, not really hot yet, the water was still cold. You didn't want to go in; you were perfectly happy to sit on the shore and read but not me. I had to go in, had to show you that I wasn't afraid. That I could still take risks.

I walked out into the water and stood, letting the waves push against my legs. It was cold and the salt stung but I couldn't, wouldn't, turn back. I let it push me, pull me, further out, until the water was slapping against my hips and my teeth were chattering. It was a little frightening, thinking about the power of those waves. How if you kept going, they would just take you away. You could disappear, erased, as if you'd never been there at all.

I looked back at you on the shore and waved. You were there, in your chair, with your book. You didn't notice how far I'd gone, how I'd been moving away from you, slowly, for months. I thought about what would happen if the waves took me too far. Would you try to save me, rescue me? Would I even want you to? I came out of the water, shivering, lips blue, and waited for the sun to warm me. From the shore, the ocean looked calm, safe, but I knew otherwise.

As we were leaving, I looked down and noticed dozens of tiny holes, tunnels dug into the sand. You told me they were made by crabs, burrowing themselves in with tiny claws, and I envied their determination. I thought about how the ocean and the beach and the wind had been in existence for millions of years. How before there was humanity and all of its problems, there was this. How through it all, the crabs had continued their cycle of living and digging and dying, knowing nothing of love or happiness.

I decided then that I wouldn't be like the crabs, burying my head in the sand. I decided that I wouldn't live without love or happiness anymore. The wind changed, and I could feel it then, how things were different. How I was different and I knew, you could feel it too. We walked back towards the car, heads down, lost in thought. And every step that brought us closer, took me further away from you.

17 Comments:

Anonymous bookfraud said...

when i see first-person narratives that address a specific "you," i almost always have the same reaction: feh. it usually sounds trite and forced.

but you managed to pull it off. why am i not surprised?

8/07/2006 9:19 AM  
Blogger Quinn said...

Scarry sometimes how we can sense these shifts? the way it makes us feel psychic - and psychotic too from time to time.
In my relationship just prior to the one I'm in now, my moment when I knew it was going to end happned over the phone. I was brooding over something (writing/money/employment - whatever) and couldn't decided if I wanted to drive across town to see her that night. She made some comment about wanting to create a safe place for me. I had always felt safe around her until this realization that she was consciously making this effort to shelter me. It made me feel mothered - and as you know I already have a mother - I wanted a companion, a lover not a second mother.

I've never understood guys who marry someone like their mothers. it's so Oedipal.

Wow - I'm way out there with this comment aren't I?

8/07/2006 9:24 AM  
Blogger Lex Ham Rand said...

I like the crabs burrowing in the sand.

Nice touch, and not something everyone has ever noticed.

8/07/2006 11:08 AM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Bookfraud, I write like that because I'm a bad writer. I haven't yet learned that you're not supposed to write like that. I'm sorry, I can't help it.

Quinn, I know EXACTLY what you mean. Exactly. Not way out there at all.

Rand, I notice stupid things like that. I'm thinking of renaming this blog Mindless Minutiae because that's all it really is.

8/07/2006 11:12 AM  
Blogger Lex Ham Rand said...

You've got to stop using words like "stupid" and "mindless," even in jest.

You are demonstrably not stupid, and extraordinarly mindful.

And good writing is all about noticing things that other people don't, and then writing them down so that the reader says "aha! I've seen that before but never thought about it that way!"

And, BTW, "Writing Blind" is an awesome blog name. Don't ever give that up.

8/07/2006 11:39 AM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Rand, I'm just in a mood. These past couple of days, I've felt like giving up on this writing thing altogether, deleting this blog, disappearing. I was perfectly happy not being a writer and then someone came along and tried to change my mind and now I just feel like crap. And if that doesn't make sense to you, don't worry. It doesn't make sense to me either.

I don't know where Writing Blind came from, by the way. Again, it was just one of those random things.

8/07/2006 11:47 AM  
Blogger Gerald Huml said...

Very good writing! I haven't seen your poetry, but maybe prose is in fact you bitch! I'm amazed at how you make me FEEL when I read pieces like this.

8/07/2006 12:19 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Gerald, I'm glad that it gives you that kind of reaction. These days, I don't feel like any kind of writing is my bitch but maybe you're right.

8/07/2006 12:21 PM  
Blogger jason evans said...

You could never be happy with someone so less perceptive or daring than you. I don't see loss here. The only loss would be if you stayed.

8/07/2006 12:23 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Jason, I'm not really that daring, believe me.

8/07/2006 12:34 PM  
Blogger jason evans said...

It seems like you're willing to dare something uncomfortable, even frightening. That's more difficult than the "daring" kind of person who feeds off of the thrill of danger.

8/07/2006 1:13 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

It's a lovely piece of writing, it does it for me. I have been struggling with writing lately too, but I have to remind myself that the end result is what matters. If a poem just pours out, or if it is horrible crap the first time and has to go through four or five revisions, it doesn't matter - it's only the result that matters. And it's not always easy to see what's trite or what's beautiful oneself - trusted readers are valuable feedback.

8/07/2006 4:00 PM  
Anonymous bookfraud said...

i don't buy for a second that you write "like that because i'm a bad writer." do you expect anybody here believes that? vat, are you fishing for compliments?

if you want me to insult you, first give me something worthy of such insult!

8/07/2006 4:50 PM  
Blogger willowtree said...

If you made a book of your reflections, I would definitely invest my pittance.
Event hough they are your reflections, everyone can read them and think- damn, I remember a time like that, or oh that's what that was... It's so very important to be able to connect with your reader like that.
Very nice.

8/07/2006 5:20 PM  
Blogger briliantdonkey said...

beautifully done. Great descriptions as always and super job of getting us into her(your) mind.

All of that being said,,,,,,,I hated it,,,,,only because I have been dumped on a beach before......without crabs......me of course. I am sure the beach had crabs somewhere too.

seriously,

great Job

8/07/2006 6:48 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

I know all those feelings. Feeling small and insignificant next to the gargantuan ocean, the walks with someone you are soon be apart from. Sad in one way, but liberating in another.

8/07/2006 8:20 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Catherine, thanks. That's good advice, and I've been trying to follow it myself but it's hard.

Bookfraud, if you read my blog closely enough you will understand one thing: I don't consider myself to be a "good" writer, or even a writer at all. I'm not fishing for compliments or trying to impress people. This is something I sincerely do not believe, no matter what people say. It's an extension of what I feel about myself in general, nothing more, nothing less.

Willowtree, I doubt anyone would want to buy a whole book of my Hallmark-card writing. But thanks.

Rob, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to bring back any unpleasant memories for you. And the crabs are everywhere, as far as I know.

Scott, I didn't realize until I wrote it how terrible the feeling was. I just wish I'd been able to see the end sooner.

8/08/2006 1:34 AM  

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