October 23, 2014

girl on beach

I am eighteen on a beach in Massachusetts, walking with a boy.  I wear long hair and a tank top and a brace on my leg.  I laugh often and loud.

We pick our way over the rocks and I see it, there, a fish caught in the tidepools.  His lips open and close but he can’t take in air.

The boy will remember that I walk down the beach, looking for a stick to move the fish.  To rescue it.  Of course, I can’t actually touch the fish, because it might get me sick, too.  Such are the workings of an over-active mind.

Still.  I find a piece of driftwood, and slide the fish onto it.  Together we throw him, ungracefully, out to sea.  I want, I want, I want for him to swim.

He floats.

Later that night, the boy will kiss me on his bed.  And later still, we will fall in love.  I will move across the country for him.  I will marry him on a cliff overlooking the sea.

But that day, on the beach it’s just me, trying past reason to fix what cannot be fixed.  To buy a little more time, to heal the things beyond saving.

There are things I can’t change, I know, but I am still learning my lesson so many years later.  There are too many tidepools, it is such a big sea.

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