The water was crystal blue. Small waves rippled and came in slowly, elegant and carefree. White birds flew overhead, mostly in silence. White sails glided by. The blue of the sky came down to meet the blue of the water at a hazy horizon. Light, water, and air swirled and gleamed and wafted purity to shore.
She stepped out of her way and came to the water. She passed the people running, walking, talking on their phones. She passed the couples and the clusters of teens on the cement stairs. She came reverently to the swaying blue and white. She came ready.
She came to the water and sat before it. She looked out to the blue, and then down to its very edge, down to where the duck crap pooled and the color was slightly green. Just beneath the dirty water she could make out large slabs of rock and concrete whose bottoms faded away into the dark deep. She felt a jab of fear but kept looking down. This was the water she had come for.
If only I were brave, she thought, forgetting that she’d come all this way on her own.
She had been walking for miles, along the ragged shore. The wind had blown and the waves had risen. The cold water had splashed her shoulders. The sun had been bright and yet without warmth. The sun had liked to keep its distance.
The shore had wound almost endlessly behind her. She couldn’t remember now just when she had started on its path. Periodically she raised her eyes from the gray-black stones to see more endless raggedness before her. One day she had started walking and had kept on. She kept on now.
The sun started to move further away, falling back away from her, and she felt it shrink it rays away from her.
“That’s fine,” she said to it without looking back. “I know you like to go. I know you’ll be forced to return tomorrow.”
The fog was going away.
It had started to come in almost from the beginning;
She could not remember now a time when it was not coming in.
It had come in under clouds, under the sun, under star-less and star-filled skies.
Over the water that matched the sky in its vastness,
Creeping, rolling, floating, streaming forward
The fog had come in
To the shore filled with rocks and sand,
To the sparse grass,
To the tall trees that were now the only ones that had lived in clear air.
The fog had come in from no one knew where
Blowing into the roads,
Swirling around lamp posts,
Making dogs howl
And children cry.
The fog had come in,
Had crawled up the walls,
Had entered through open windows and through cracks under locked doors.
The fog had come
And it had found her.
She was young, but she should have known better. The days had been bright and hot, but tonight was cool. The sky was starless.
She waited until her family was asleep and then carefully went down stairs and out the door, pen and notebook, Bible, and discman in hand. Now it was just her and the night.
She was young, but not too young not to know.
The darkness was coming in. If she had had eyes to see, she would have seen it swirling slowly to her, like a haze drifting forward over the ocean. The darkness – the depth – was coming.
She was happy with her music and words she believed were true. She was happy writing worlds that no one else could see. Her eyes were nearsighted but sparkling. She was safe in all she did not know.
But she should have known.
It was summer and she was hopeful. They had been out by the water all day and had gone in for a rest. Now they were clean and dry, except for her damp hair that blew wildly out the open window.
The city lights were nearing, speeding quickly on as they drove up and under and around the tangled highway. She could feel the energy of the city spill out to meet the energy increasing in her. The air and lights and cement and radio were churning and pulsing, matching the beat of her mind. She smiled and turned to look at his steady, un-churning face. This is what she had come here for.
They entered the city and crossed straight through it to reach the water once again. This was not the well-kept beach where they had spent the bright, carefree day amongst the usual summer crowd. Here the water met rocks and then cement. Here there were no crowds and every dim street light cast shadows. She was still carefree, but his clenched jaw and fists told her that he was not. She had made her choice and was now free to live in it. Here was where it was his turn to make his. She was hopeful.
I met you and fell into a hurricane. Wind and rain and gray swirled around me as I tumbled and spun and was thrust from one storm edge to the other. I reached out my hands to hold steady and found nothing but churning movement slipping through my fingers.
The sound was ringing in my ears – your name, your name, your name, shouted over and over through the pouring of rain and the whistling of wind. You said your name and it was a thunderclap in my ears. To this day it’s all I can hear.
My ears were ringing and my arms flailed. You came near and touched my skin – my skin pelted by water, scratched by debris, fully awake in the cold so cold it felt like fire. It was your hands on me that brought the storm’s embrace.
I thrust out my hand,
Hold it over a flame.
As though it were a bad thing
To prefer fire
Over numbing ice.
I walk forward
Into an unknown,
Braving for once
To take a chance.
As though maturity meant
Being willing to stay
I come to the shore,
Fling away my clothes,
And walk unhindered into the waving waves.
I delve into the water,
For once fully alive:
Light entwined with darkness,
Life a play thing with death.
You sit dry on the shore
And wonder at my wanting to be cleansed of your