Love in Sand, Pine, Snow
The boardwalk leading to the beach was veiled in a salty scent, a distinct difference to the crispiness of air encompassing my condo. Around me were trees I had never seen before. Patches of sand started slowly appearing as I got closer to the beach, ingraining itself in the soles of my flip-flops. I wasn't accustomed to the warmth of the weather, feeling as if the air masked itself in muskiness, making it harder to breathe than normal. The night sky cloaked the white sand and crystalline blue pool but everything was recognizable, unchanged from the last time I was here. The people around me were in distinct unity; we headed for the same purpose, or at least that's what we believed. Nothing smelled of the pine-encrusted trees surrounding me just a few months prior. The earth no longer filled of rough soil littered with acorns and fallen leaves. Paradise, they called this place. Here I came in expectation of dreams and fantasies, only to find it a disappointing voyage. Soon, the ocean water roared just inches away and I played my role of the part. I looked towards the ocean, lost in thought, yet oddly in complete control of my senses. Melancholic and pensive, I waited for the storybook beginning, but she never came.
The camp fire I longed for was long gone and with it the security of illumination. Darkness swallowed the remaining confidence I had left. I closed my eyes in bitter denial, holding out for anything, an awkward hand graze or a calming presence appearing next to me, but no footprints came imprinted on the sand. Instead, all I felt was a chilling breeze, wrapping itself around my exposed arms. Behind me, a strum of guitars and the beating of a cajon filled the air. There was no turning back now.
All I had considered to be the frameworks of love fell apart. I thought I did everything right, be it the actions, thoughts, or beliefs expected out of a respected partner. Modeling myself after the seemingly desired proved fruitless. If these were not the things important to her, the other two conclusions became all the more frightening. Either I wasn't good enough for her or she wasn't good enough for me. The latter terrified me the most.
This was the moment I had declared my D-Day. Life defining were pilgrimages like these supposed to be. I believed it the last time I had the opportunity to be shrouded in the protection of questionable morale antics and the distance of the tundra provided the same guise. Everything about the journey fixated on her, giving her the power of a goddess on a silver platter. Surrendered wholly, I was.
There was no speaking or obligated dialogue this time. For all the hopes I had, the onus of initiation fell upon me, except I wanted none of it. My mind had the petty details already hammered out. I had written the perfect love story, where the beloved hero is the one who actually does all the morally wrong things, justified only by the audience's sympathy and desire for a tale where true love trumps all else. I swore my intentions exactly that and my friends supported this vindication.
But no armed forces ever landed on the beach. I stared at the crashing waves for a few minutes, unsure of my next move. Everything I had planned banked on one scenario and I had never considered anything else. Nothing mystical came from the dunes of sand, humidity of air, or imagination of romance at the most foreign of locations. Maybe I placed all my expectations on some self-justified divine intervention. God, I told myself, owed me this. Believing that people are people, unaffected by the scripts Hollywood had written, was never my thing. For just a day, I wanted to cash in on being stupid, reckless, and immature.
Ten minutes on the beach told me all I needed to know. I sighed, glancing to my right and left, wishing I had come here with a different purpose. The buildings to the side irradiated a brightness I craved, that I firmly believed was missing in my life. Here I was, with the sole purpose of casting revival on these sands. Yet, to me, I was nothing but a pit of failure and gloom. As far as I was concerned, I had nothing and them everything. I fully admitted that the God I had called my everything turned into nothing in the midst of empty happiness. Crazy, I know, but nevertheless fitting for me.
Turning around, I headed back home, defeated. "My intuition couldn't have been wrong" I murmured to myself like a madman. Certainly I didn't create a mirage of reality that pretended to fit my hidden yearnings. I molded myself into the embodiment of the things I knew were honorable but I guess that hardly matters to a group of humans where imperfection shines just as often as our feeble attempts at righteousness.
The discord of voices and instruments died down as I walked back towards the bridge. The clanging of beer bottles soothed me more than they should have. Each step I took meant forfeiting, another tread to where I had always been. I drowned out the humming of car engines and laughter coming from the hot tubs. Silence, until my ears picked up a chord of musical solace.
"Are you heading back? Walk me home."