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This morning is a calm I can't explain. It's that time of day when the sun and the moon are both shining together, barely dawm. The sound of the waves crashing against the shore is barely audible due to the overwhelming amount of thoughts flooding my mind, ripping through me and pulling me under to depths unfathomable to man, to a place no one should ever have to go.
It is the sixteenth of October, a day that has been unanticipated for the past two years. When the air turns crisp and the grass crunchy, the month comes along and I try my best not to acknowledge it, hoping that it will graciously slip past me this time around, giving me peace for once.
But I have no choice. Life remains unforgiving, not paying any attention to your circumstances. You still have to get up and face the day.
I rise to my feet, a little uneasy, and move towards the coean, counting my steps to avoid getting very far. The water wraps around my ankles and I begin to drown. Not physically, but mentally; my brain sinks and soaks up the salt and grime and I feel as if the entire weight of the world has been put upon my shoulders. I take a slow breath and the smell of coffee and chap stick and washing detergent replaces the salty air of the sea and I can feel him. His pulse surging through the currents, sinking into my skin, into my veins.
"The weirdest thing about hugging someone is how you're basically touching their insides," he said as he wrapped his arms around me for the eight thousandth, one hundred, sixty-fourth goodbye hug today. "Like it's so personal, almost like you're touching the other person's heart."
"Yeah, except when you hug your hearts are on opposite sides, dofus." He rolled his eyes at me and tickled my spine and kissed my forehead. I felt at home. The idea of him leaving for two weeks to go surfing with his friends bummed me out, especially since the hurricane was going to hit right on Hatteras. But apparently the "sick swells" were going to be amazing to ride, so I acted like I was happy for him, though I already missed him, even as he was holding me.
"I'll see you soon, Sarah. It'll be like I never left. I'll call you tonight." He squeezed my wrists and walked towards the van of guys waiting for him, surfboards tied to the roof of the car, turning around to smile at me one last time.
The last time I would ever see him smile again.
I regain my perception of past and present and blink away the tears I was trying to ignore building up in my eyelids. I look as far out in the ocean as I can, and through my swollen eyes I see his face, and it looks as if he was never lost; his eyes are that familiar greenish-yellow and his crooked smile aims at me with the same charm that once made me catch my breath. He moves his lips but I hear nothing. His silence confuses me and ignites and anger somewhere inside of me; it took everything out of me to come here to where I’m most afraid of and you have nothing to say. But I can't be mad at him. I try to grab his hand, still covered with little cuts from chopping onion at work, but he is out of reach. A sort of sadness fills his eyes with grey, and the memories I have held so closely begin to float out to sea along with him, the ocean hugging his body, as if he was responsible for keeping it blue.
I wonder what his last words were. I wonder what was thrusting through his mind while he gasped for air but breathed in water, while he was forced to accept that it was his time to go. Why it had to be his time to go.
These are things that myself and no one elsewill ever know. People die for reasons beyond our understanding, for reasons bigger than us. The only thing we can do here is wake up every morning no matter how swollen our eyes are, no matter how empty our hearts are, and keep going. Our days are numbered. We have no other options. The sun doesn't wait for you to rise. The tides don't wait for you to change.
I breathe the air in one last time, trying to take in as much of this moment as I can. The breeze dances through my hair and in between my fingers and I kiss the sea goodbye. I look back out and I smile. Maybe we'll catch up someday.