My Forever This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Guilford, CT
I watch my face gaze back at me, rippling and distorted; the colors slightly skewed, my skin strikingly pale in the murky sea. As the familiar features waver with the tide, I wonder if maybe this is the way we should look. Who said perfectly smooth mirrors were how we were meant to see ourselves? My reflection in the ocean reassures me that imperfections are natural, and somehow I feel complete. I lean back against my rock as I brush my hair behind my ears. Surrounded by the timeless boulders, a constant source of stability, I allow my body to relax. My muscles unwind as the tension of stress dissipates and my lips transcend from a tight line to a curve mirroring the bouncing waves.

Today the beach is smiling, boasting a thousand diamonds cast by the sun; a handful of whitecaps sprinkled throughout. Shimmering rays dance along the shore, ricocheting off bits of glass and highlighting the glitter in the rocks. I came to the beach this morning because I knew it was where the emotions of the sky were painted, and the clear blue day held the promise of a gorgeous seaside. My mouth remembers how a genuine smile feels, as opposed to a forced curl. Happiness is no longer a façade, and the rush of feeling is overwhelming. It is a unique sensation, despite having spent the past year in an emotional tidal wave. Rather than feeling like I’m drowning, I feel alive.

Staring out at the water, I’m overtaken by thoughts. Maybe it is easier to watch the waves crash against the shore than watch your world crash down around you. This is where I come to lose myself; the wise whistle of the sea air and the elegant thundering of the surf captivate me. The ocean represents so much; it’s so vast yet so touchable, too big to imagine while being right at your fingertips. I come here often to see the mood of the water. I snap another photograph for my collection; a portrayal of the many faces of the sea.

The beach is tangible evidence that everything will pass. Standing strong through the worst of storms, the beautiful blue days never cease to return. Hurricanes and blizzards may strike, casting a temporary depression over the impressionable landscape, but never leave permanent scars. For me, the beach is the epitome of hope. A wave breaks on my rock, dousing my face with saltwater.

Snapping back to reality, I stand up, still blanketed in tranquility. I tuck my camera back into my bag, excited for the photo I captured today, which would contrast nicely with the slightly more ominous snapshots from the week before. Swiveling my iPod so Muse plays just a bit louder, I have the perfect soundtrack for complicated thoughts. The haunting vocals of “Blackout” blend with my swirling ideas as I wave farewell to the ocean.

At ease with the world, I began to wander back down the road to my house. I smiled to myself and everyone I passed; brimming with what probably seemed like a slightly inexplicable joy. I felt a sense of calm that I had not felt in a long time, for I knew that whenever I needed it, the ocean would be waiting.





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