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I haven’t been home for a long time. My home consists of a small community of smaller houses and giant fields of lettuce and strawberries border the homes. People of little variety live, a few light skinned persons and a hundred medium skinned people. But we are all the same here, we all buy fresh food and we all watch our kids like hawks on the lawns of rough green grass. I once fell in love with a boy in this town, and our love flourished from a shark plushy that I had graciously given him and a Power Puff Girls piggy bank he oh so lovingly gave me. And under the eye of our so called god he saw us promise to go to elementary and middle school and high school together. We’d spend our years in a small town and never leave. Maybe I’d quit high school and he’d continue his life maybe he’d be a construction worker. I’d cook and bare children while he worked and ate. And he’d smother cement on brick after brick. Watching the grey meld two ugly things together till his own back croaked and he would spend an eternity watching Nascar in his reclined seat. Then there’d be me, cooking and caring.

My heart was broken by the boy when my parents sent me to a school near the sea. The school that would sit me down and make me concentrates and learn and make me be creative. The school that at one point sat in the middle of forest, we’d watch the deer stalk onto the grass with their dear children and their powerful men. And when my school by the ocean moved homes, we’d walk to the beach and cover ourselves in sand. Letting the freezing cold water scratch at our skin while we looked at little hermit crabs that battled and hid from each other, the strange and sticky creature that would pooch from off the tide rocks. Us girls would press our fingers against the thing and watch it enter itself and laugh with purity while the boys touched it and laughed and screamed in their own. We’d walk the wharf and pose as seals who lay on the cement like models. My teacher taught me how to do math and for the first and only time I understood how to do it, he gave us time to create messy and beautiful masterpieces of chalk and all of us felt like the great artists. He’d scold and control my friend who had the attention span of a mouse. He was wise and smart and loving. I would fall in love again, she and I would play with caterpillars and run away from widows that hid in the ivy around her house. We’d eat coconut ice cream and kiss on the top of her bunk bed. Only on the top of her bunk bed because we knew it was bad for us to be kissing but only because we were kids and not because of gender.

Another dear friend would dress me in her pastel pink Indian dresses and wear gold bangles and fake earrings, pretending to be queens and fairies. I was an artist, a queen, a star crossed lover, and sometimes a mermaid. I was a philanthropist and an anthropologist (at least that’s what I’d call myself).

And when the sea was exchanged for sand, for bright lights at any time of the day and people who always seemed in fowl moods my heart still stayed hopeful. While my parents yelled and screamed and my sister was punished for things I had done, and then they’d yell and scream again. Maybe it was about my cat, Orangey a stray from the sea and my only key to the sea. About how’d she’d spray and b**** and complain about being locked in white walls. But when I held her she was calm and loving, and only when I held her. She was my sea. But the sea cannot be where it is so arid and dry. And she was taken away, maybe it was because she was pregnant and we had little money but enough to buy cigarettes. Or maybe it was because she’d b**** and spray.

Eventually like my body and mind my heart adapted. My parents learned to not yell as much and I still lied about the things I did to get my sister in trouble. I would still make friends and have childish love affairs, I ‘d see beautiful things in people when I couldn’t see it in the endless layers of sand and casinos. We’d escape our tomb and visit the sea for a few days. I’d sit and stare at tide pools where the strange sticky creatures would suck in and out and crabs still scurried the sand. The brisk unnaturally frozen air would brush my dry skin with warm faces that welcomed their tourists rather than yell for their money to pay for taxes. We’d drive through cemeteries not for from my sea and watch deer feast on grass and watch us even more carefully. And then I’d stare at the large white building that hung of the rocks like a castle, imagining going in there again one day to stare at penguins that tripped and fell on each other, silver fish that spent every day in uniform, and frightening eels that peer out of crevasses to see if their captors would feed them. I want the luminescent glows of jelly fish to glaze my skin and to once again dream of being a seahorse.

I want to visit the sea again.

I’d love to see the sea again.

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