Waves

March 10, 2008
By
My cousin and I swim out far to sea, alone. The people who care most about us aren’t with us, or even nearby as we journey onward to the wide expanses of the sea. We’re not afraid. We are safe when we are together. We fight our way through the waves heavy as sandbags, and every now and then one catches me and I am sent tumbling down to the gritty bottom, where I’m dragged on the harsh sand by the mean currents and then released as if nothing had happened, except there is water in my nose and eyes and all I can taste is sharp, spicy saltiness.

“We’re like dolphins!” My cousin Amanda flips on her back and she does appear to me as a slippery, carefree dolphin floating in the middle of the ocean, at peace with the silky waves that tumble around her sea-soaked body, gently rocking her. I get a thrill from the thought of all the colorful animals, shells and plants that are underneath us, before and behind us, and coexisting with us. I celebrate the pure variety of them all.
We go out farther and farther. Filling in the last tiny space of empty air left by the living pouring waves, giggles, talk, and laughter rise like bubbles, away from the turmoil that is the wrestling match of us vs. the sea. As we tease and test the waves, sometimes we try to bash into them, sometimes we try to slip over or under them, but always we move together, helping each other on. When I feel a pain in the bottom of my foot, my cousin and I decide we have to try and head back to the beach. It must have been a clam that bit me.
The ocean doesn’t want to relinquish us. We are dragged down when we are trying to move forward, and the waves knock us forward when we’re trying to stay grounded on our feet. By the time we pull ourselves onto the shore, Amanda is nearly carrying me, and we get the exhausted, faintly triumphant sense that we have just graduated. We rinse the thin gash on the bottom of my foot at a water faucet, and then we go back to Amanda’s family’s condo and take showers and wonder why we don’t feel like we have arrived home. We realize that we never will part from those waves of the ocean, and in our lives we are both still back out amidst all that heavy water, fighting and playing with the waves of the sea.





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