The night felt beautiful.
It was the kind of beautiful that you didn’t need your eyes for. The type your fingertips told you about and your goosebumps came out to see.
The air was heavy with sea salt and a luke-warm breeze lapped against my skin, deliciously running its fingers through my hair and playfully tying stray tendrils into knots. I shut my eyes and let it drown me, fading into part of the scene. The evening wasn’t quiet, not even close but it was silent of humanity. Obnoxious squawks of seagulls dived in the air, before gracefully dying out over the expanse of sea. Waves threw themselves against the rocks terrifyingly, soothingly… It was a night and a place that unified contraries, everything seemed possible here – and everything was, I had learnt.
Then there was the sky. It was as though all of nature had conspired to show off tonight and the visuals were truly the pièce de résistance – a final encore, coffee after a perfect meal. The sky was performing, tantalising its audience with a vibrance of crimsons and purples. Colours were splattered furiously across the backdrop, but an inevitability of night blue had already begun pricking at its corners.
It was beautiful. That true kind of beautiful that can only ever be found and not created. The type of beautiful that stirred you and left you feeling hollow and completely full.
Warm granules of sand burrowed themselves between my toes and every now and then I felt occasional stab of a shell or piece of broken driftwood as I began my descent. The water still glistened on the horizon, I wanted to be a part of it. There seemed to be no end and I found that reassuring. How long I could go for, how far away it could take me, from them, from him? I hadn’t said goodbye to my family. I felt bad about that, but not bad enough to go back. I would see them again someday if they ever crossed. I felt sure that they would, some people are harder to convince than others but they all follow eventually. That was what I was doing after all – following. Others had gone before me and now it was my time. I was at the edge now, bubbles of froth toyed with my toes as it gurgled up to me. My mum always told me to respect the sea, it wasn’t something to be played with and I shouldn’t trust it for a second.
water was breathtakingly cold, I felt its sudden sting the minute its icy
tongue licked against my feet. Rays of deceptive light had been dancing off the
sea’s surface invitingly and it has been painted as much warmer than it was in
reality. Stunning, but so cold.
I had begun walking with tentative purpose and as I edged in deeper the water had started to lose its bite and instead had become comfortingly numb. It welcomed me in, ebbing back and forth, agreeing with my decision, praising my discernment. It was at my knees now, confidently climbing further and further up my body with forceful hands, pulling me in deeper and deeper. Keeping my eyes fixed on the sky in front of me, I continued my walk, waiting for the moment.
The thing about the sea is it’s all just a great pretence. An excellent reflection of something true and vibrant, cleverly concealing the murkiness that lies beneath its surface.
I wasn’t scared this time, because I wasn’t tricked.
The sky’s colours had faded into night and had taken with them the water’s glitter. What had been left behind was dark.
It was never brave people who attempted the crossing, nor stupid people. In fact, that was one of the only commonalities our tragic kinship shared, we simply weren’t ‘those’ people. We are the unremarkables, we live in your periphery, the ones whose names are always on the tip of your tongue, the finger clicks, the umms and ahs. Every one of us who had gone had the same look about them – they were all following.
The numb, the cowards, the broken… those were my people and we were on the move. For the people tired of fighting, the crossing offered something – revival. I wasn’t a strong person. I liked to think I was and perhaps I had been, but then when push came to shove I just felt too tired to fight. I was so sick of fighting.
The sea bed was a soft under my feet and with every step it remoulded to fit around me. Quietly, the Water had begun collecting up the bottom of my dress, gathering it up around my waist in an exposing dance. I let it.
Its icy fingers reached up my thighs, confidently playing its way over them, lingering and climbing. Enacting the ownership I had relinquished when I offered myself to it. The dress came back down, heavy and sodden.
waves were bigger now, firmly they pulled me forwards at my waist; scooping me
up in their motion before depositing me back down, scrabbling to find a footing.
The froth was at my neck, kneading my shoulders, then throwing me further.
I knew it would be like this. It had to be like this, but I had made the decision anyway. The gentle lapping had long vanished and had quickly been replaced by brutal walls of water. Wherever I looked I could see them, riling themselves up ready for the attack, taking a run up before coming crashing down over me. Liquid silver, now nothing more than a merciless body of water. I let it throw me where it wanted, completely indifferent, not bothering to root my feet anymore. Its attacks had become incessant, as waves battered over my head and senseless currents churned beneath me. It was nearly time, I couldn’t turn back now even if I wanted to, the decision taken firmly out of my hands. I shut my eyes.
There is no such thing as tiptoeing along the edge, we’re fools if we think we can control the sea.