Day 5: Crush
I stood at the beach a day ago watching the lifeguards. I was drawn to the young woman in the photo. I wasn’t really drawn to her as much as I was drawn to what she represented- the exuberance of youth. After a few minutes of them laughing and climbing onto and off of the guard tower, I was again 19 ditching morning classes with my boyfriend to make love and eat peanut butter and cracker sandwiches on the beach. Sun and sand white hot on my skin, I felt unencumbered so I tossed my walking cane into the trunk and took a stroll indulging the nostalgia. I remembered it all: musky and sweet cologne, the rough seam of his jogging shorts as we struggled to remove them, his hands cradling my neck against the hot sand, the expanse of sky and tide ebbing closer. Everyhing illuminated. Each small joy more intense than the one before it. And then I slipped. My feet against the wood ramp that leads from the concrete seawall to the sand below gave way and I gripped the rail just in time to avoid falling shocking me back to the present day. I returned to my car that was parked in the Handicapped lane and grabbed my walking cane. My 19-year-old self would have taken the fall, picked herself up, and ran into the arms of the ocean, not even stopping to pull seaweed off her legs. Maybe I return to the beach now just to catch a glimpse of her, to warn her of all the things she will someday come to fear. That list is long.
I miss her.