I looked out at the traces of memory left in a beautiful place. Anyone who watched me might say I was contemplating the waves, the awe of a body of water so big that the end merges with the sky. I was in our place although they was no longer an ‘us’. The air pulsed with the remembrances of a love gone by, the waves brought crashing back thoughts and feelings I hadn’t given myself the permission to ponder for a while. The questions remain unanswered, the slam of the finality of a decision involving only one of the two.
Once this place was our happy place, our free place, our little getaway from a world in which responsibilities pulled us in different directions. We were happy once. The thought makes me sad now. How did two people go from making each other unbelievably happy to living like prisoners sentenced to some sort of twin torture?
I’m experiencing a new side of this place that for a long time had an exclusivity for our love. Surrounded by crowds from all over the world we felt like we were alone in our little web of love. It was the most wonderful way to be, as anyone who has been in love will tell you. To feel like only the two of you exist in the world, the rest a blur, to have your world beside you and be content. A few years later, the story flipped into a grotesque twisting of the ‘alone in the world’ feeling. This time, it was the feeling of loneliness despite being seated next to the person who was once the only one necessary to dissipate any sense of being alone.
The ocean is still in motion, waves frothily teasing the beach in a rhythm universally soothing. The crowds are still a mix of rowdy students, honeymooners, men out to ogle any feminine sliver of skin, lovers, and families. The shacks still serve you local and continental fare alongside a variety of cold beverages. The sand still feels the same under your feet, soothing away months and years of stress you didn’t know you’d been harbouring.
But, for me, it is all tainted, coloured with a wash of wistfulness and regret. I feel, more acutely than the people beside me, the shape of him who is missing. I’ve felt like this before when I have spent time with friends when he was far away, however that was with a sweet ache and the knowledge that we would be reunited soon. I still find this place beautiful, with the ability to reflect back at you the inner workings of your mind. The ocean still has the capacity to make me gaze in awe and restore a sense of well-being; a trick of the infinite sea that has existed from the time the first person stood transfixed by the cosmic timekeeping of the waves. Everything is still the same, yet I am changed.