First, the wind gently tugs then whips her hair, wisps slashing across her nose and cheeks. She stubbornly tucks the loose strands behind her ear in vain; she refuses to tie it up. It’s been far too long that she’s been tied up, knotted, wound tight for someone else’s expectations. Tonight, at least, she stands, bare toes buried in soft sand, quiet waves whispering in her ears, finally free. The wind, she realizes, has taught her perseverance.
She inhales the saline tang of the sea, her chest rising as the next wave kisses the beach. She exhales the tension from aching muscles and frenzied thoughts as the moon calls its lover back to the horizon. A relationship of give and take, jealousy and grace – she admires the tide’s rhythmic persistence even when the moon appears absent. The ocean, she realizes, has taught her patience.
Next, she remembers burning embers of lust turned to love. But there had been none of the tide’s compromises and her love slowly slipped backwards in time, melting into the lust it began as. The wind nuzzles her skin but it was the fire that had consumed her. Completely overtaking all her thoughts, her own will bending to the will of flames. Opening her eyes wide, she accepts the curling waves before her, replacing that love altogether. The fire, she realizes, has taught her courage.
The fire burned not only her skin with desire, it ignited her imagination and creativity – a spiritual phoenix rising from the ashes of her own fear into the indigo sky. Her words tattooed her heartaches and hopes in feathered tomes. Everything became inspirational zephyrs – the melancholy thoughts of an abandoned child, the seductive scent of honeysuckle on her tongue, the mysteries of the sea. She poured herself out in a tempest of emotion that kept her afloat. The sky, she realizes, has taught her passion.
She sinks to her knees, throws handfuls of salted sand above and allows it to pelt her forehead as it rains down again. She smiles and laughs then lays back, her arms and legs creating a sand-angel of sorts. The sky blankets her, the sea teases the beach, the moon, the wind – they are all her lovers now. She never was alone, not really. All she needed to do was look outside of herself, not to her lover’s arms or her mother’s dying whispers… no, the earth, she realizes, has taught her friendship.
Eyes closed, she focuses on the waves’ hushed lullaby. Her thoughts skim over the memories of all she has held close. Each heartbreak a life lesson. Each touch a sun catcher of emotion, both light and dark. Each laugh a piece of herself given, freely. Each tear, an acceptance of reality, not always in grief. No matter the circumstance, in loss or abundance of joy, she never shuttered her heart. Her eyes open to the stars above, although her smile is brighter than them all. She realizes, she has taught herself love.
tara caribou + DanaR | ©2020
I can’t describe how much I loved writing this piece with Dana. I have admired her writing from afar for too long. We have a similar voice and I think that lent itself to the piece beautifully. She made this look easy! I couldn’t be happier with its outcome.