A day at the beach, a day with much hope, promise and life in the air; my bare skin caressed by the hot sand and the sun touching every part of me, holding my soul in its warm embrace; I look afar at the ocean and he’s playing with the sands; its naughty waves jumping for joy every single second; expressing all tones of green and blue in a gradient never seen before. My body well rested on the warm sand, doesn’t want to move at all; but only wants to dab into every single moment of this pleasure which is life.

Voices come from a little bit to the right, my eyes seek the source. The voices are filled with certain energy; my eyes spots first a little girl, a toddler I suppose; with braided golden pigtails, very rosy cheeks-a bit burnt from the scorching sun-in a very pink swimsuit. Her eyes are a magical shade of blue; they resemble some of the more delightful shades of the ocean blue. Her little thighs and forearms all are covered in a layer of red orange, also sunburnt by this sizzling sunlight all around. In this sun she’s having a hard time keeping her tiny blue eyes open. Sitting on the sand, she’s making a small castle; the castles golden and every so often she touches the sand to make sure every corner is nice and firm; she’s doing it with such determination and seems very thrilled about it.  She adjusts some green ornaments on the castle and now from afar I can see a euphoric combination of gold, pink, ocean green and the inevitable shade of blue sky above.

There’s also this woman nearby, she checks on the little girl every now and then, her skin, all tanned in a chocolate brown swimsuit she walks on the sand just as the wind comes to bring more flow to the already lively scene at the beach. At times she walks a bit further away, but she always comes back to check on the little girl. At some point she bends down, reaches inside an olive-green beach bag and takes out a plastic pack; from the distance I can see it: the opaque shade of red, seeking life, resting in the pack. Her slender fingers go inside and pick the first drop of joyous red out: a very blissful strawberry-opaque no more-comes out and the woman very smoothly takes a bite; I can see how the expression on her faces changes. She moves towards the little girl who is still engaged with the golden castle and offers her the rest of the strawberry. First unaware of the situation she doesn’t reply, but then spotting the sudden rush of red, her eyes widen and with her tiny rosy lips she also takes a bite; She jumps up and down in place as if filled with joyfulness.

The omnipresent, all-warming sun and the avid, mad-yet-managed waves of blue green rush a little more than before through the blue of the sky and the golden of the sand. They are playing a game, the waves; just like the new kid at school who’s watching from afar, monitoring every single move of the gang of children who are playing a game, I’m looking at the waves, wishing to be a part of whatever it is that they are playing. I move, stand on my feet and walk towards the ocean. The waves are calling on me; I hear them through the breeze as I walk under the sun, my skin burning with its heat, tiny drops of water dotted all over. My feet touch the wet sand; it’s very cold and refreshing; a rush of cold starts from my feet and flows all over my body; I don’t hesitate. I’m there to play a game. I take the first step into the ocean and the waves make me feel welcome and at home. My steps are quicker by the second, ankle-deep, knee-deep, thigh-deep, waist deep and then I’m suddenly pulled up by the first wave. A bit to my left, a big guy with very little silver hair is also playing a game, he waits for the waves to come and once close enough he jumps through them and every single time he does that, he shouts with joy and says something crazy. Once or twice I hear him shout “Blimey!” we make eye contact and he smiles at me, as if welcoming me to the game he seems to be enjoying very much. I try to indulge in the moment just as much as he seems to be; no stranger to the ocean, I let the waves and their flow take over. I jump through the waves, I swim alongside the flow. I feel as light as a feather, as free as a bird, as satisfied as I have ever been, I feel happy, I feel joyful, I can’t stop smiling for some reason. This joy, this excitement, this feeling of overwhelm fills my soul with a certain something that I have never ever known of; it’s a feeling that feels familiar and then makes me feel bizarre and estranged at the same time.

It’s panic; all my being’s filled with panic. I look ahead, I see more waves. I turn back; I can no longer see the big guy. I can see him; he’s very far away. The waves take me further and further through more waves, just endless waves and water. I feel weightless; then I feel heavy. I feel like I can’t swim any longer, all my muscles feel ache, pain and empty. I look up because I feel the absence of a certain force; yes, the sun is visible no longer. It’s blocked by a very massive black cloud. The breeze has turned into a cold wind that makes me tremble. The waves are bigger than before and more forceful and violent. The ocean is a villain; not an old friend any longer. The group of children, every single one of them has rejected me. They do not want me to be part of this game any longer. I am scared. I need to survive. I want to live. I try to swim back towards the shore but I’m not a very good swimmer; I think to shout for help and cry; but I know I’m too far from anyone to be heard. I’m separated, lonely and an alien more than ever. The harmony of nature is lost in that very moment; I feel detached and very much alone. I swim, move my trembling limbs. I swim for minutes which linger unto hours and then I don’t move forward; I’m doomed to be still. I’m destined to stand in one place; yes, the waves always bring me back to that place where all the panic started; the waves don’t let me go. I am afraid; I try to swim underneath the waves but the silence under the water fills me with more darkness and fear; I swallow some salty water and start coughing; I know that the end is near; I don’t shed a tear; no I don’t cry. I think to myself: “This is the end; this could be the beginning. This is how I meet death; I’m ready.”

I was thinking those thoughts and at the same time I could hear a voice within; this voice was very low, very faded; but just like a mantra, it kept repeating the same thing. Something like “fight back” or even “hope” or even “Life” I really never could make out the words; don’t even know if it was a sentence, a phrase or simply a word; but it somehow made me swim once more; it somehow filled me with something I can’t really put my finger on. And then, my big toe touched something: sand.

Yes, somehow, my feet touched the sand once more. I don’t know how it happened but it propelled me to swim some more. There still was a very long way to the shore; but at least I knew it wasn’t all that deep anymore. I would touch the bottom with my feet and jump and swim and run towards the shore. The shore seemed like a promise at hand. All of a sudden it was once more waist-deep and then thigh-deep, knee-deep, ankle-deep and then my skin was detached from the ocean. I crashed into the sand and fell on my face and could only gasp and breathe for air; I couldn’t get enough of it. I coughed and gasped and cried; I just couldn’t get hold of what had just happened…it was unbelievable…

I felt the warmth of the sun on my back once more…as if trying to wake me from a nightmare which the dark clouds had brought upon. I turned on my side and looked around. The little girl with the castle was working on the same castle; the golden one. The woman was still walking around; checking up on her every now and then. The colors were still the same: pink, green, golden, blue and green. Once more I lied on my back and could very gradually feel the warmth of the sand underneath once more. At that moment, the big guy passed and showed me a thumb up saying: “it was a good one” I didn’t really know what he meant, but I just looked at him, smiled and for some reason said: “yes, it really was”

When I heard those words inside my head, I suddenly felt like I knew what I meant. In an alternate universe, I suppose I did meet my death, the waves took me into oblivion and yes, I died. I flew regardless of my pain and panic; I flew…here though, I was still lying on the sand, the sun still my friend and golden castles still being built, strawberries still being fed and Life still in motion.

February 2012

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