My Personal Line

Written By: Darlene Darcey  Fulda

My Personal Line It was a most pleasant day. If I said the sun was shinning, the sky was blue and a warm breeze came off the water, you can imagine that. More then likely each one of us has experienced a day like that. What I felt though was the bursting sunrays warming, soothing, and caressing my skin, the warm breeze mixing with my breath so that each one felt full and deep. The sky was perfect and cloudless, inviting me to be a vibrant blue. These days come all summer long in Montauk, New York. We may share the same feeling of a summer day, but I’m sure on that day we do not share the same memory. For five years I was the Vocalist in residence at Gurney’s Inn, a fabulous luxury resort on the ocean since 1926 and I lived in a cottage by the sea. My family and friends were a distance making it almost impossible to see them. But there were times when someone would come out and we would share the greatest gift of all, time. Just time. The kind of time you dream about on a summer day, with that sun, that breeze and that sky. It was 1980 and I was twenty. This is my thirty fifth year of the memory of that day. Whenever I choose I can go back. I just have to close my eyes. Whatever I am doing, who ever I am with, wherever I am, I can get back to that moment. You might be saying, “well, get to the memory already!” but as the seagull flies we must first leave the beach. Before we do I walk down to the shore and with my toe draw a horizontal line in the sand, my personal line. We head through town out to Gosmans Dock, founded in 1943 in Montauk Harbor, that has yummy everything from clothes to lobster. As we drive through the many winding roads with their beautiful scents and colors, the same roads I enjoyed running on, the words began. The same words we have said on the phone or in person for years. At twenty I had all the answers to all the questions, all the insight into my own and everyone else’s life. Wasn’t I the girl who sent every family member self help books and tapes every Christmas? It was easy to see the answer. One way or another we would end up talking about “it”. It was an old standard not written by Gershwin brothers. It was a song we sang with challenging notes and rhythm, highest treble and lowest bass. A warn melody between us, the intro, the verses, the improvisation of thought, and depending on the day, a fade out or big ending. A duet that was exasperating, exhausting and at times exhilarating. We were both so passionate. It was an arm wrestle at a corner booth in an Irish Pub. It was a prizefight of the mind neither backing down. It was the ninth inning, tie score and we were both going for the home run. Never would we agree and never would we agree to disagree. Actually, that saying wasn’t’ around back then. On the merry go round we would go, spinning out of control and not without anger, hurt, laughter, tears, snide comments or realizations. This conversation defined us then and for years to come. We spent an exorbitant amount of time trying to see the others point. All of that breathing, all of those emotions was our way to connect. What else would we talk about? The way the 2 deaths in the last 5 years of our closest family members rocked the core of our very being and family? How it made a question of everything from destiny to how can we rid ourselves of this pain? From how can we live for the future without the fear it will be taken away in an instant? How we were all caught in a raging wave that tossed us around like a ragdoll, sand in our eyes, ears, and nose, thrashing and grabbing at nothing? How when the emotions ran their course we were left heaving and pounding the sand with nowhere to go but forward least we be dragged back by the undertow of sadness? Ah, no. Let’s not talk about that. Let’s live one gigantic word, circumvent. Let’s try to fix something that doesn’t really need to be fixed. Let’s use our words to hear each other speak, to feel the tones we use as music to our ears, to know we have not lost our connection. She was so precious to me, time was so precious and at the end of the day did all of our words even matter? We spent the greatest gift of all, time. Just time. The kind of time you dream about on a summer day, with that sun, that breeze and that sky. You may be saying, “finally there’s the memory!” but as the seagull flies we must first head down to the dock. We stroll arm in arm surrounded by our history, like a bubble, our love for each other run’s deep. The years of triumph, sadness and challenges between us, are left in print on the cobblestone as we walk to the dock. We pass many people creating their own history leaving their own footprints behind them, but we are a bubble of two. The sun is still bursting, the taste of lunch on the breeze, and we are still vibrant sky blue, despite our dispute. And one of us is still talking. I look up for the nearest seagull and visually let the words of the day float onto his wing. In my mind he flies back to the beach and drops them on my personal line. The true memory now emerges. Let’s rest now, here on the dock, on this bench. We sit close enough to feel each other’s hot skin in our short sleeves. Like we know the time will end and we will once again be alone on our own journey through sand and waves. The comfort taken on this long glorious day is but a moment in time, again, just time. The talking ceases. Suddenly my Mother pushes away, looks towards the heavens and lies down on the bench. As she uncharacteristically rests her head gently on my leg, her own legs outstretched long and relaxed, her hand shielding her eyes, there is nothing but silence. Not one sound. We are peaceful in this moment of time. I awkwardly stroke her forehead and hair just a few times, to let her know our connection will never be lost. I look at this woman. Her hand shields her eyes not from the suns warmth but from its burning rays. A lesson I have lived well. Shield the burn but let the suns warmth always remain. Ride the tumultuous wave, pound the shore with all of your might, and believe that peace will be yours again. I close my eyes and turn my face toward the sun. Look, I’m only twenty so I have a long way to go before I learn to shield the burn, but eventually I do, then I only feel the warmth. In that sunshine with the sky so blue and the warm breeze still, my mind goes back to the beach. I know the seagull has dropped all of the words from the day there on my personal line in the sand. I visually let the next wave come up to the line and remove the words into the sea, taken from my heart and mind. Only this memory of the day remains. We stroll back together arm in arm, closer for the moment. Only going forward, never looking back. Striving for the two days of the week, today and tomorrow. It’s the last day of April 2014 and it is cold and rainy. My mother is 88 this year and I am of the age she was when she came to visit me that sweet summer day in Montauk. She may not have the same memory of that day but she may remember a moment that reminds her our connection will never be lost. Memories are like grains of sand, sometimes scratching your eyes, sometimes flowing through your toes, hot and lovely. My personal line allows me to keep only the best thought of every memory I choose to remember. If you see a line in the sand, it’s mine. Go make your own. Darlene Darcey Fulda April 30, 2014