I went to the beach at night.
There was something poetic about the whole thing. It played out in my head like a scene from a movie. Close-up of the protagonist, wind in her hair, staring out into the vast, deep, ocean. Stars overhead, full moon, the waves crashing onto the sand. Slow, melodramatic piano solo in the background.
In the movie version, of course, whatever concern prompted the main character to ponder the sea is solved. The answers roll onto shore as easily as the waves.
I left the chaos of bedtime and homework and walked on the sand, waiting for something. A sign. An epiphany. Maybe a helpful stranger who had all the answers. A kindly vagrant even. A wise old man.
But while I waited for every movie trope I could think of, none of them made their appearance on the beach that night. It was just me and the sand, the sea, the stars, and the unanswered questions lingering on the air.
I sat down and closed my eyes, listening intently to the ocean. Searching for some secret answer that might wash up. Listening to whatever secrets danced on the wind.
I focused. Meditated a bit. Tried to find something from inside myself. Reached back into my mind and pulled at the straws that lay scattered there.
The ocean soothed my soul. With my eyes closed I could pretend whatever I wanted. Be whomever I wanted. Imagine myself somewhere else. Just for a moment, that is.
There were decisions to make. Plans to follow. So many dreams and hopes. And there on the beach, under the stars, I willed them into existence. I embraced the sky, the stars, the surf, and begged for wings. I took flight right there and then. I soared effortlessly and landed in a cradle of unseen comfort that washed over me in moon rays and echoes.
But then, I opened my eyes.
My mind was far from clear. It was filled with all the stresses of the day. Of the month. Of a year interrupted. They were still there as I sat in the sand, alone, at night, on the beach. My phone lit up with concerned texts. “Where did you go? Are you okay?”
I had only been there for a few minutes. After all, the beach in my movie is very different than the reality. The vagrants aren’t too friendly. The wandering old men aren’t disguised wizards. The sea washes up discarded plastic quicker than clarity and peace.
Serenity is easy to find with your eyes shut tight, but eventually, you have to look out, deal, and forge on. Without imaginary wings or phantom guides or moonlit pathways.
I went to the beach at night and I left the same way I arrived.
Just reality. Alone on the beach.
Not exactly the movie version I went looking for, but maybe that is precisely the answer I needed.
Fade to black.