As the water gently lapped against his feet, he felt frustrated.
The storm had blown over them earlier in the morning, leaving behind a slightly electrically charged air, crisp with the smell of rain and sea mixed together. The waves over the reef at the end of the lagoon were still adamant, the whitewater shining brighter than the clouds above as they caught the sunlight over the barrel. The sunlight, however, did little to diminish the anger that was boiling inside him.
She was back in their bungalow, crying softly into her hands as she sat at the edge of the bed. He knew this because he left her there when he couldn’t handle her tears anymore. He was a caring, loving man, never raising his voice nor hand against anyone, and especially not at his wife, and when anger did take control, he always chose to walk away and ponder it himself until he calmed down and thought rationally. Today was slightly different, though; today he didn’t want to calm down.
He wanted to stay here on the beach, his feet kissed by the water and his face slightly warmed in the cold air by the sun that peeked past forlorn clouds drifting westward. He wanted to bury himself in the white sand, drown in the shallow pools surrounded by corals left dull in daylight, be carried off by the sea breeze that always had somewhere else to be. He just didn’t want to walk back to the bungalow, rather, he wanted to walk past it as the road twisted towards the town and… where would he go? The ocean gave him a false promise of always being on the move, running from shore to shore, rivers coming in through streams, meanders and kissing the ocean at the mouth as the waters of the world got mixed and taken away. The ocean gave him the idea that day by day he can find himself as a wanderer, starting all over again every time, but how would he, a mere mortal with two legs and a scarred heart, emulate the ideals of an entire sea?
Was this really the lesson left by the vast, dark, wine-colored world that lay before him? He looked down at his feet, observing the waves going and then approaching, a certain discipline to the movement, a dance to a different beat. The repetition spoke to him, something between the washy sounds and inhaling receding water felt like a breathing pattern to him now, and inevitably his breathing levelled out, following the ocean. A sense of calm settled over him like a blanket, wrapping around him and making him feel relaxed and safe. He looked around in his new-found peace and then began noticing something previously disregarded.
There were branches, leaves, and debris blown on to the beach by the storm that morning, a war zone of nature, the fight between the ocean and the air now resolved and the collateral left behind. The branches seemed, at first glance, out of place and savaged, but those closest to the waterline were slowly being tugged away. Leaves, haphazard in their arrangement, now seemed to get coaxed by the breezes to gather and congregate, becoming residents at the base of the coastal trees, mangroves and other flora. Debris just seemed to get absorbed by both the water and the sand, finding permanent homes and to be permanent homes for the fauna that thrived around it.
He could see how the world around him wasn’t all about turmoil and being on the move; it had more to do with healing. The storm was a temporary reset, a shuddering force that brought out half truths and made them bare; when the stagnation of life reached a peak the waters unsettled and began a purification of sorts. Sometimes the damage seemed like years in the repair but when things healed, the scars were outgrown by the beauty of rebirth. Death was inevitable, he realised, seeing how a tree was split in half by lightning, the sand surrounding it turned to glass in a mosaic so beautiful, but life was equally inevitable too. After every storm, the crabs came out, repairing their homes, and birds came a-calling. The air seemed to be thicker with oxygen, every breath deep and full and invigorating. The world seemed to be coming to life, blink by blink, the gloom of the clouds being replaced by an afterglow.
He realised that the beauty of life was in how it was lived, thriving against all odds, a constant dance between birth and demise. There was no need to run from the storms that came and went, the nights that came and went, the gloomy mornings that came and went. Every wave was a breath, the world breathing with him, around him, making him see that irrefutable magic of handwork and determination. He wasn’t going to be mistaken, though, as he saw the burnt tree slowly fall into the water when the ground around it gave wave under the insistent tide. Somethings do need to be cleared away, to make way for better things, but all in all, it was all to do with living, being, growing. Besides, he thought as the charred trunk got slowly pulled out to the sea, sometimes what’s broken needed to be somewhere else, to give life where life was needed. He could imagine already, how the ocean would house it’s children on the wood, how the hardened driftwood would end up being a piece of art to liven up another man’s home, years later. Life was inevitable.
In a bungalow behind him was a woman who meant the world to him, crying broken trails of tears as a result of not only a conflict but the differences between the both of them. They had found each other, fallen in love and made their own little world out of the universe they found themselves in and now they were at a crossroads. Loving never came easy, he knew, but the beauty was in choosing to keep loving. She gave him so much to celebrate, and he knew he gave her as much too. The ocean taught him the truth in life, and it was to love and keep on loving as long as breath remained. He decided to sit for just a moment more before he went back to her.
As the water gently lapped against his feet, he felt thankful.