The wind deftly gathered her hair, swept it over her face. She closed her eyes, and listened to the boom of the waves as they came and went, over and over, endlessly. She could feel the clouds gathering above her, and she wondered whether she should move or not. As the light, cool rain fell on her hands and knees, she didn’t care enough to leave, so she hugged her legs to her chest and rested her head on them.
It was a bluff overlooking the ocean. The edge curved out over rocks and churning water some three hundred feet below, and one might have judged it an unsafe place to gather thoughts. Although she never gathered them there. She let them settle. Her musings, like so many small forest animals, were wont to wander without schedule or structure. The pounding of the water and the salt in the air let them rest. And as the noises faded, the quieter things would slowly begin to surface. Her heart would relax enough to reveal its answers, like a loosened grip that holds a starry gem.
Growing up, she and boy, a neighbor, would come with her to this place. Every summer when she would visit for her Grandma’s Birthday, they would slip away from the lemonade and the excitable dogs driven to madness by the seagulls that taunted them, all her raucous cousins, and would run to their secret place. Up a steep, rocky path they’d climb, grasping tree limbs and roots with both hands. When they had initially discovered it, it was partially hidden by a crop of thorny bushes and seemed long forgotten. But they spied faint traces of packed dirt that might have once been a trail, and so they had pushed through the protective foliage.
Their hearts raced at the vantage point, that first time. They had smiled at each other, both in silent agreement that this was something they would never share.
And she never did.
15 years later, her cares were a bit heavier than finding unbroken sand dollars and scraped knees. A new pain throbbed through her veins, overwhelming her heart as it strained to keep her alive. Her spirit was failing her, and it was time to say goodbye.
Her fingers pulled through the grasses at her sides, breaking the thin blades away from the earth and offering them to the wind, feeling as if she was offering the world all her years at the same time. It took them both, replacing the green, vernal life with air. Her hair and her sweatshirt were becoming soaked with the rain that steadily peppered her from the dark sky. She hadn’t been to this spot for a long time, but already she felt it working out the knot in her chest. The sea acted as a magnet; it’s own strife and movement drawing the anxiety out of her mind and into itself, leaving her empty. Lightening cracked, rain ran down her hair and cheeks, across her closed lids.
Without warning she remembered gray eyes and black hair, the tug of his hand on her wrist. She could hear his infectious laugh at her fearlessness, which was little more than innocence at that time. Sitting on small, white flowers that matted the nooks and crannies of the hard boulders.
She didn’t know what had called so far back to the beginning, to this place, as she found herself at the end. she could remember the thrill of excitement when they first saw each other, and escaped to the beach before saying a word. Talking had never been a priority anyway; words had rarely been necessary. Their silence was their bond. The memories came so clear and sharp it seemed like yesterday, and she marveled at finding them so wholly untouched by the imperfections that plagued humanity.
She sighed. It grew still, then, as if she had moved into the space between moments, the part of the world that evaded time. Her flesh felt a weight being lifted, and light filled her mind, blinding her visions of the past and warming her through to the bone.
She stood. Reaching into her pocket, she brought forth a piece of something that shone a deep gold, a ring, a piece of her heart. With great carefulness she knelt and swept dirt away to make a shallow hole, and placed the weight inside, burying it. And she let him go.