A Jumping-Off Point 2
She’s at her residential beach sitting perched against a familiar log of driftwood on a plushy blanket with a book in her lap. It was formerly a slice of heaven for her where her troubles would sink into the lapping waves like the stones that are sucked into the Sound with each pulse of the water. This is her trying to recapture the beauty of the Here while her mind tumbles through the world of the There—it is not working.
She isn’t sure if she’s genuinely making a concerted effort to feel normal again. She recognizes that her body is physically present in her habitual pleasures, but her brain keeps the corresponding feelings at an unattainable distance. Sitting on the beach at sunset was always so healing for her and now she balks at the adoration she once felt in this magical setting. The bawl of the seabirds prior to their swift plunge into the ocean is merely a strain on her ear. Even the sunset dipping beyond the mountain range only serves as a mocking reminder of her solitude and emptiness.
Why am I even Here? she ponders.
Her eyes close as the crest of the sun sinks beyond the mountains and she transports herself to the There. She can still smell the crisp air, flush with petrichor as the rain kisses the cobblestone emitting the most intoxicating aroma. She mentally presses a hand against the cool, brick wall of an inconsequential building and feels its history passing through her fingertips, reminding her of the relative youth of her city Here. A sigh ravines its way through her lips.
She went to several countries near There, but it was There that she fell in love. Not with a person, but with the spirit of the city. Though she was only There a few days, a part of her didn’t follow when she left. Her most authentic self was abandoned in the city among the locals drinking beer in the pubs, listening to the bands that called There home all their lives.
Thinking on this, her eyelids flutter open and she hums a tune from one of the songs she heard while There, subsequently feeling a sob welling up from within her. Trying to repress the impending downward spiral, she gets up and trudges toward the ocean. Perhaps if I chill my feet…she can’t conclude the thought.
With her wingtip Oxfords still adorned, she submerges her feet into the seductive Sound. The act has a polar effect than her initial intentions. The mental dam which held back the flood behind her eyes comes crashing down and she collapses into the shallow water in a convulsive heap. Weeping, waves splashing, stones tumbling, ocean wavering—it’s all one thing and everything and nothing. Her lips are percussed by an amalgam of salt water from the sea and from her eyes; she tastes the composite between each ragged breath, swallowing and slightly choking on each wave. Her mind briefly flashes across the idea that people occasionally drown in shallow water.
She tumbles back to the world of the There while lying on the rocky beach, resigned to the Here.