The temptation is real.
Outstretched fingers of endless water caress the dark sand, white caps breaking as the waves end onto the beach edge.
They are calling.
Their crash from sea to sand yearns to take something back with them to the deep.
I watch them roll in.
A small spatter of rain drops over my shoulders, dampens my hair. There are no stars tonight, the coast is dark. I should seek cover. No, wait. I should join the sea and leave the struggle behind.
There are people here. I did not have an expectation of others on this sandy edge of my world.
A short walk across the sand is all that is needed. The commitment is made once the water is beyond the waist. Just a short paddle to the heads, open ocean. No return.
A woman runs past, to my front, between myself and the sea. Her run is pained, almost a shuffle. She turns further down the beach, another run past, a turn and a run past again. Her face expresses a struggle. She hurts. Her pain is real. My thoughts are distracted to what she might feel. I’m compelled to watch, to wait, to see if maybe I should help in some way.
I turn to the path behind me, where two young women sit by the wall, the road then beyond them. Deep in conversation, an open wrap of butchers paper between them, hot chips taken by each at will, mixed with words, cackles and snorts.
Would they respond if I now walked fully clothed into the sea?
The running woman comes by again, she catches my gaze, and I hers. She is not impressed by my interest. She punishes her legs against the sand a further half way down the beach, stopping with a despairing throw of her arms into the air. I see the silent ‘why’ in this gesture. She turns and comes back my way. Our glances to one another pass the pain, we both know why we’re here, though neither of us have the courage to approach the other, fear that our intuition is wrong. She runs past, then slows to walk. Along the beach, up to the path, up the hill, over the peak. She descends from my view, from my life.
The temptation was real. An invite to us both from the beckoning dark waves. Strangers connected for a brief moment of a solitude thought in the dark, of the dark.
Sounds of waves will haunt my sleep tonight, as I dream of the glorious beach sunrise to come.
Still, the pain is real.