Never Stop Drowning
All I can hear is the crash. It’s so familiar coupled with its same distinct smell.
I starred out the smudged glass door, thick with fingerprints. The water so urgently crashing into the shoreline. Dark, deep blue water decorated with October’s whitecaps.
Something clicked inside of me and frantically I grabbed the door’s handle, opening it just enough for me to slip through. And I ran.
I ran so wildly down to the shoreline, stumbling along the way over rocks and forlorn driftwood. The cool wind playing with my hair, blowing through my body. I stared at the whitecaps and crashing waves. I was so empty of lung from the anticipation built up inside. I hadn’t seen my beach for months, sent away to study literature in the mountains. I forgot the sand I learned to walk in. I forgot the smells, the breeze. I forgot the hang gliding seagulls. My heart stretched as it tried to remember again, my senses overwhelmed. I reached the shoreline of exploding waves. My eyes widened as I reached my hands above my head and ripped off my shirt in a fluid motion of zealous yearn for absolute freedom.
My body tightened and desired. Desire, I was soaked, dripping in it. I had no control left. Oh, and my jeans came off damn fast too. Because that’s what you learn to do when you’re in love. Act fast, and make sure as hell it’s irrational. I threw my anxious body into the waves. No thought. My body so blissfully reunited. Loud laughs could be heard from all echoes. I tried jumping over the waves and then flung my body down into the water. Letting myself sink deep into the water and ripping myself out again. Born again, born again. Laughs turned crazy and nervous and beautiful.
I was with this wonderful life, naked alone, but connected to everyone. I had feeling. It made me feel. I submerged my head under, dunking again and again. Drowning myself in love. I could feel my salt-slicked body move through the water, defying the gravity of land, Yes, I was in love alright. Cause when you’re in love; you do things that are just as impossible as defying gravity. Maybe even more so.
I looked back as I reached the worn wooden stairs. The sky; a conflicting dark purple and light grey. I’m never leaving my Long Island shore again.
To live on a beach, a place that could make you feel so many different things all at once. Growing up in a beach house on the North Shore I learned the seasons of the sea creatures before I could recite the alphabet. I learned to fish before I knew how to ride a bike. I have calloused feet from running up and down the shoreline’s edge. I have sandy brown hair and nineteen freckles; the sky’s constellations tattoo my body. My grandmother used to say I hold the ocean’s blues, greys and greens in my eyes and they look prettiest when I cry. I’m hard to impress because I’ve seen the eastern sunrise on the water. The ocean has taught me life’s medicine is salt water. Whether the sound, sweat or tears; salt water heals.
Most of us don’t remember Long Island’s beginnings. The graveled roads and vacation homes. Most of us are too young to remember Cedar Beach’s colorful changing rooms and red slatted snack shack. That’s why we must ask, record, and revisit memories of our Great grandparents, Aunts, and dusty black and white photographs.
I remember the first time I drowned. Almost drowned. I was four. You know how you are when you’re four year old, goofy and drunk in youth all the time. The age when you trip there are five previous seconds you may burst into tears, or into laugh. So when I drowned, almost drowned, it was beautiful. I was in a float on the water and it was a windy day. Must’ve been August, the hurricane season, my favorite season. I was on this float letting the buoyancy rock me up and down. Through my buoyant perspective I remember seeing my mother on the shore; the sun bathing her lean body as she lounged on a towel, pretty and graceful looking. She waved.