I walked into the ocean today. I wasn’t looking for life or death. I wanted the ocean to choose for me. It was so still and peaceful when it used a siren call for me. I kept walking until every ounce of skin I own was covered in salty.
I read your note. You told me it was over. I didn’t know what to do, so I walked until home was a foreign place in the past. I asked the ocean if I could call it home. It laughed at me with roaring waves. They crashed over me in a full-body hug. But they said “no”. I think I can learn the language of this water.
You stopped hugging me. Your distance was physical and emotional, it seems. I don’t know how to talk to you about lost love. I can collect my tears and have them spell out “sorrow,” but you’ll only read “denial.” I can fold my thoughts of love into a secret and mail it to you. But you won’t open it.
The ocean is the only place big enough to hold my empty heart. I can build a fort of starfish. Kelp will be my front door. Once I’ve decorated the place, I’ll invite you over. But you won’t come. You’ll move out of our place by the end of the week. Our home will only hold the bones of memories. I don’t want to be there. I like my ocean view much better.
The ocean is kind and salmon asked me to join their school. I swam in unison until my breath gave out. You used to take my breath away. I understood all of your looks and moods and loved you despite them and for them. But I lost myself in you and I. We even started to look alike; my identity was as a partner not a person. That’s the saddest part of us ending, I don’t know who to be any more. Even the ocean knows I don’t belong, spitting me out on a whale. I find my footing on its back and ride it like a surf board.
I tell the whale I’m homeless.
“Then we’ll find you a home,” he groans back to me in a language I now understand.
He says it simply, as if he has solved this problem before. I wiggle my toes in affirmative response on his slippery skin. We move through waves as big as waterfalls, we depart one ocean for another, nights fall from day repeatedly.
I awake to the whale’s momentum slowing.
“You’re home,” he says.
My feet find their balance and I see calm seas.
“Here, where there are others without a home.”
I see ship among ship with flags labeled in pirate. Their home is the sea and now so shall mine be, away from notes and heartache.
I thank the whale for his generosity and slide from his back into this new ocean.
The wind is churning the waves; they sigh in relief from holding still by colliding into themselves. Everyone wants a little relief. Once I pop above the surface I whistle. Now I have more than relief. I have excitement—a path that is all my own, a beginning from the end you announced.
“Ahoy, matey?” I say in attempted pirate speak, once I have climbed the rungs of the ladders in search of home.
“Aye. What do you have for me?” the pirate asks before I can fully board.
“I have nothing to give but myself.”
“We’ll take it all.”