I walk out towards the beach. To take a small personal glimpse into the lives I see other people happily living. I take off my shoes and the fine grains are like fire underneath my feet. Those infinite minute particles, meaningless on their own, together retains much of the scalding heat within their scarce mass.
I put my shoes back on and I continue to walk. I am here, I think to myself. The sand slowly starts getting into my shoes, just like how I feared they would. My sleeveless dress is nothing in comparison to the relentless rays coming from the centre of our solar system, I am vulnerable here and without much protection.
Out here it’s just me and nature. It protects me, yet haunts me. With every step that I take, I pull more sand into my shoes. I am getting closer to the water now. I am living the life other people live. I am out of my house, in the world and alive. Yet, why am I still alone?
The waves crash onto the shore, I count the number of seconds between each one. I predict when the next wave hits. I am in control. I walk closer and closer to the sea. There is fresh air here, I am free. The sun persists to beat unabating on my back. And I take pictures of the scenery around me.
So close to the water now. I think of the universal agreement on the calming effects of the lulling of waves. I watch silently as the water undulates over oneself and retreats back into its vastness. I start towards it but the texture of the sand beneath me suddenly changes. It gets thicker, more heavier. More compact.
There are obvious tire prints and footprints in the sand. I continue to try to make my way towards the one thing that can relief me from this heat, from my incessant thoughts, from the self-torment of my chaotic mind. But the sand sinks under my weight and I back out. So I change course and start walking along the border of the change, alongside the memories made here by strangers before me.
There is a wall of large rocks ahead of me. The sea on my left, and a long stretch of sand all around me. I find myself already walking closer towards the rocks, so I set it as my goal. I set myself forth towards stability. I leave the expanse of uncertainty behind me. I leave the mysterious unknown of the sea to explore another day.
I walk along the old prints, wondering who had made them and what they were doing here. I wonder if any of them were like me, alone and wandering around like the lost and confused souls that they harbour secretly inside. I wonder if they were with their family, happy and in love with the world.
I wonder how many people were there on the days when they came. Were they alone and had all of the beach to themselves like me? Or were there many people there, busy and loud with energy and life.
I wonder also about just how many thousands of prints were washed away recently by the rain or replaced with fresher ones. I turn around and I notice that I was making my own footprints in the sand too. I wonder if anybody else would wonder about me too.
More and more grains seem to want to acquire a new acquaintanceship with my feet. I welcome them, not bothering to empty my shoes or brush off my soles as more will meet me on my journey back.
A lot of thoughts go through my mind. Many I wish to tell and express. Many I fear I might not deliver good enough justice for; with my poor choice of words and lack of skill to convey accurate emotions.
I make it to the rocks and I take a picture of my small victory. I look back to see the distance I have travelled on my own. I take a seat on the smooth surface of one of the large pieces of stones, my feet perched on the edge of another one below me.
I make sure to have my dress cover my legs. The sun pummels down against me with its great vehemence. I think of the sunburn I would get after this.
I watch people walk past the beach. I think of the people in the cool swimming pools at the other side. I watch couples and friends laugh as they take each other’s pictures and make silly poses.
Yet despite with all of these distractions around me, even when I am on my own, my mind still naturally gravitates back to the thought of you and how you are doing. I wonder. I wonder. I wonder.
I imagine how good it would feel to be in the water. But I sit still on my rock, making no efforts to move or find shelter from the sun. I curl my toes in my shoes and become aware of each grain of sand enclosed in them.
My mother calls me on my phone to tell me to make my way back. I call my sister to relay the message but am given attitude in response to my friendly hail. I stand up from my rock and start running across the length of the beach on my own.
People watch me from the edge. I am running, I am free. Yet, my thoughts have never left me once. I don’t feel free. My lungs ache, my heart thumps wildly against my chest.
I am out of breath.
I leave my temporary stability behind me. I cannot hear the sound of the waves over the combination of my loud footsteps, breathing and heartbeat.
I am back in the land of uncertainty, the unknown I avoid constantly. My legs threaten to give way. More and more sand sink into my shoes as I run. And I think it would be so much easier to just stop running. I slow into a walk, my heart still racing. My body still aching, still desperately trying to get enough breath.
Just a little bit more, I think. I start running again and I am off the beach.
Back to reality; my perfect picturesque already behind me. My lungs burn for oxygen and I am reminded painfully that I am still alive.
I am back in a place where other people exist. Back in a place where strangers might know my name. Back in a place where I am seen, and remembered.
I walk past the families in the pool, and I quickly notice the difference between us. While I stay under the sun alone, they make it a point to find solace in the cool water with their loved ones. The chlorine smell strongly invading my senses.
I am running all the way to the main building. I stop for a second to take off my shoes and pour the sand out. I throw my shoes back onto the ground. I am here. And I am alive.
Once in the building, I opt to run up five flights of stairs instead of taking two escalators. I think of something witty to describe my actions. “There is no such thing as taking the easy way in life.”
My thighs burn and my lungs are desperate for air again. I remember only then that I had only less than four hours of sleep. I remember only then that I had stayed up throughout the entire night.
I quickly walk past a number of people and make brief eye contact with an African woman. I worry that strife could be seen from my eyes, so I lower my gaze to the ground. My discomfort should only be felt by me. I am out of breath from all the steps.
I have lived the life of others by living as me.
My mother tells me as we leave that my face is all red from just being outside for half an hour. It felt less than that, whilst also feeling more than that. Time is abstract when you’re in and over your head.
We walk through the exit threshold together as a family, but also apart. And I am back home once again.
Just some pictures and thoughts from today. Feel free to tell me what you think! 😉
xx Solaris Denali