You smell it first, then feel something ride along your skin - the salt, the sense of things wet and green, of bits of seaweed. Then a little shiver runs up the back of your neck, realizing how long it has been since you stood in the sand at the water’s edge, the lapping sound at the edges, the rustle of weeds in a low breeze. It will take some time, standing here to put everything in its place and for once, there is no rush.
Tiny dark tails are wiggling under the surface, darting schools of minnows that later turn out to be baby eels. They move like birds in the sky, graceful arcs twisting around the sandy floor and the sun is beating down hard.
I make my way back along the little road, hearing the sound of everything. My breath and my shoes scraping on the asphalt, the trees bending, a motorcycle in the distance.
The ocean waits.
In the city, I find the familiar places, the loose stool at a diner late on a Sunday night and they are still making hamburgers so I order one. All at once Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes comes on, and I think of V fast asleep still and how she likes this song so much, bouncing on my side at breakfast as the music jumps around our kitchen. Everything reminds me of them, a yellow splash of graffiti on a bright wall and I know E would like this, smiling at it if she was next to me. A perfect iced coffee and an almond croissant and I sense N’s chin on my shoulder, tearing off the corner and popping it in her mouth.
The next morning I go to the Cup and Saucer, for eggs and sausage. The same faces are there, that trapdoor behind the counter flips open and a young cook crawls up from the basement. The girl with the stray eye hands me a menu but I already know what I want, and pass me the tabasco please. I eavesdrop on conversations to both sides, men talking about their children’s weddings, talk of the weather, no politics, no drama just 80’s hits playing on the radio and air conditioning pumping into the place making the napkins flip around.