Sounds of Silence

It was a morning like no other. The sun had not yet peered over the horizon, leaving the rolling waves to scamper about in darkness. The only light was from the billions of stars overhead and the porch light behind me. With each breaking wave, my longing to stay was deepened. Under my tightening grasp, the weathered wood shrunk, finding me bracing myself against its support. The crashing grew louder, more profound. I could barely see the outlines of the multitude of liquid fingers reaching for the beach but I could sense that they were growing. The rushing was growing, reaching a crescendo, and then…I woke up.
The van shivered along the potholed road. The depth of darkness was impermeable and unsettling. But I needed to come, just once more. When I had first visited Onslow Beach in North Carolina, the date preceded high school. I was with my two closest friends for a literal 24/7; in our eyes, there was no better way we could have rung in the final leg of primary school. The week we spent there was wondrous. Some of my best memories are from that week. The beauty of the water and how shocking it was to taste, the way shadows can turn a hurricane-wrecked pier into something terrifying, sand squishing your toes into a numb contentment, all of it, everything was unforgettable.
There I was, disturbing the memories that had gone untouched for four years. Now, college was ahead and my eyes were set on Europe. A semester in France, another in Italy. I was going to switch places every so often in an attempt to take in as much of the world as possible. Leaving America was something I had felt compelled to do for a long time. This was the final step in my farewells: I had to revisit North Carolina to find closure and start anew.
Rumbling onto the beachfront road, I halted the van, took the key out, and let the past consume me like a cloud of morning mist. I peered out onto the water, picking out glistening crests and the moon’s luminescent path shimmering across the vast ocean. Tears came to my eyes as I recalled walking along this land, talking to no end, and dreaming. We had discussed what we wanted our futures to hold. Our goals were drawn out and analyzed. But most importantly, we grew up and grew closer. For me, I really learned what love was. Being with two people for that amount of time can go bad; for us, we had the ocean as our backdrop, boogie boarding as our stress reliever, and each other for company. Time seemed to stop and we got to practice living life without being a true part of it.
Slowly, I opened to door and got out. Placing my feet on the sand-dusted gravel felt wrong. I slipped off my shoes and set them on the floorboard. Easing the door closed so I wouldn’t disturb the calm, I turned my back on the van and took a step towards the beckoning water. The first step into the sand was tinged with sadness; the second, a smile, and the third, laughter. So many times we had all tromped through the deep sand, giggling and making up contests to see who could jump the furthest. Sure, it was silly. But fun? Absolutely. Laughter is indeed the best medicine, and even greater to enjoy when you are not ailing.





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