I woke up to the deafening crash of waves and unpolished grains of sand I seemed to lie upon. Adrift and misplaced like a child taken away from its family, but I guess I wasn’t taken away from anyone, not even myself. Because life on my own had always been better, there was no remedy in meddling in other people’s suffering.
My cheeks were awfully colored, fuschia, like some kind of doll. My face had sand scattered throughout its surface and I tried to desperately rub these particles off, but it was irremediable. This desperate attempt only added to the red pigment my skin now exhibited because of the blaring sun. However, I felt estranged from this body, as if this skin did not belong to me; it was as though I had intruded into a sacred temple with someone else’s initials. But at the end, what are we humans but a world of ideas, each our own.
It was a hot day, those days where people should lock themselves in their homes, as in those atrocious summers in Barcelona. I had never seen such light and such furious rays of sun; all my life I had lived buried in winter, being cold was the only thing I could tolerate in this dull world. The cold nature of winter amplified the superficial skin of all people, making them nothing but boring pale figures that lived trying to play their parts. I used to sit alone in my apartment that faced the ocean, but I wouldn’t have known because of my constant blindness making me immune to the world. Never even knew what warmth was like, not only in the atmosphere but in my heart, that was by then a barren muscle.
The day I arose on that empty beach in a place where the sun is your friend, I was determined to condemn it. What a ridiculous, meaningless place to be. What was there in this landscape that was different to anything I had seen? I was lost and annoyed and angry and my tears were flavoured with desperation.
But, despite the frigid spirit of my heart that wanted to despise these flamboyant colors, I couldn’t. There was a rare and personal and intimate force that urged me to be kind. Whispering sublime tunes to my ear with the power to influence the core of my existence. It urged me to observe the turquoise nature of the waves that unfolded with the white swash of the subtle tide. It seized my eyesight and forced me to see color, real pure, powerful color, present in the brown sand and purple sea shells.
What was this immoral presence that threatened to reshape my world? I could not pinpoint this tenderness that wrapped me like an embrace. I felt this content and mild excitement for life that was someone else’s. Was I someone else or was I observing a subliminal transformation?
Days passed. The coastline was an infinite strip of sand and blue ocean next to a bundle of sand dunes that extended up to high mountain chains. There was no point in leaving these beaches anymore, and although unwilling to admit it, I felt part of this majestic spot. Each day I could sit for hours in the flaming sand, but it didn’t burn. It was just perfect. The high temperature of the sand after the sun collided with the particles throughout the day helped me to recover the sensibility of my senses. The one I had lost because of the predominance of reason in my intellect. I could feel again how the small grains brushed lightly against my toes and the humidity of the breeze took refuge in my long locks of frizzy chocolate hair. And for the first time in my life I regretted the fact that I had refused to learn how to swim because of humiliation, and how ironic now, being perpetually stranded in a beautiful deserted beach without ever getting the pleasure to submerge in the pure poodle of God. I could see now how people believe in a God, because it is impossible that someone less than perfect could have given life to such heavenly creations. I felt faith flood my body and mind, a foreign faith from this companion of me.
One night tears started to erase my sunkissed visage, but they were not my tears because they were sweet and pouty and true. I was only the messenger. These tears seemed melodramatic and dropped one by one. I felt this longing and sadness for a family that was not mine, and there came a rush of portraits and memories alienated from my life. I saw a scrawny and sweet girl laughing with her father, hugging her brother and joking with her mum cheerfully, spending nights talking about philosophy with her grandmother and holding her grandfather. And the last memory made of a hug, I had never seen such an admirable connection, two kindred spirits, two best friends.
Eventually I cried in compassion to that girl deprived from her roots and the center of her world. I felt as though she depended on my company or else she would fall apart. She was so close to me. I felt her aching heart next to mine. That night I cried for the both of us, alone in the desert.
Minutes became hours and hours became days that were not merely enough for the world I had just discovered. I surrendered my control and take on life to write a new manuscript, made of only the desert, the lost soul and my mind. I accepted my fate, to learn something I had previously ignored from the world, and with my companion we developed a muted and unique form of relationship. It was based on support and philosophy and it astounded me the difference between us both. As time eloped the space between us shrinked to the smallest irrational number, and her influence on me was not that of her magnetic identity but of her admiration to all, her will to empathize with others rather than herself and her profound love for people.
When you find yourself stranded in your deepest nightmare you realize that it was not as intimidating as your brain had convinced you it would be. There is such a satisfactory effect on being so wrong about trivialities and bigger things, as you will never regret your errors and failures, because you conquered them after all.
I started romanticizing the nights under the stars and the changing faces of the moon, sometimes shy and thin like a dime, and sometimes courageous and full. I felt ignorant for ignoring the majestuosity of nature my whole life, but now that I did, I had someone to share it with. Her.
She was the first person I ever opened my heart to, almost involuntarily. I opened truthfully and honestly and she understood me and supported me. She had struggles as well. Her fear that her friends would forget her, and that she would never be as meaningful to them as they were to her, that is to say the entirety of her life, or so she believed. I couldn’t understand what she felt but I knew how to embrace loneliness. I tried so dearly to spare her from her torment, and whispered so quietly that I didn’t know if anyone could listen, but she did. There are few moments of solitude in one’s life, and because you are alone that doesn’t mean the world loses sight of your light, because I know I could not, I confessed.
After days of profound and trivial dialogue the summer perpetuated. I couldn’t stand to be retained from the depth of the ocean, being limited to the shallow end for nothing else than food and drink. She had convinced me that the ocean would embrace me too, just as she had, and that it was the place where one could stop thinking and live for an instant. That day my nerves bolstered and my skin was surprised with goosebumps. I made my way to the shore. I could see the clarity of the wind and felt the wetness and malleability of the sand, how it made odd and curious shapes and caves with each step.
The skies were a deep blue, the clouds were forgotten to give the sun full protagonism, and the contrast of the sky and dark mustard dunes created a celestial portrait.
My skin had learnt to absorb the glowing rays of sun, acquiring an exquisite shade of light apricot brown, embroidered with diffused reddish spots, soft and moist. The chocolate curls that decorated my semblant were defined and perfectly coiled, I am thankful to nature for giving them the freedom to fly.
It was nearly six o’clock, the precise moment when the ocean reflects the whole light of the universe and becomes the world’s truest mirror. The sun that is always up steps aside from highlighting humanity’s insecurities and confides in the second largest kingdom, that of the waters.
I was scared, and I think the world was too. What would happen was inevitable. It was a beautiful day coming to the end just as I entered the water. I kept walking steadily, it was so easy when seeing the sunset at the other end of the world; maybe, if I kept walking I would someday arrive in heaven.
The water rose to my hips, or perhaps I was reduced to a little girl accompanied by a bigger, stronger presence. As my heart filled with awe I heard her voice, “thank you”, she said. I followed the source of her voice to the gleaming surface of the ocean. My eyes focused on the reflection printed on the Pacific Ocean and for a split second I was enlightened. It wasn’t me who was reflected in the shimmer of the water. Those were not my lips, those were not my blue eyes, that was not my face, that was not my body, it was her’s. She was not a presence I had encountered by accident. I had been the host in her body and soul. She was not the one that had needed my support, it was her that had gifted me a piece of herself. Her ideas, quirks, fooleries and identity. I smiled at the sight of her finally coming to light. It was the ocean, her and me.
That brown eyed, sweet creature; how badly I wanted to meet her and hold her tightly. But I knew her more than I knew myself. “Thank you” I whispered. Thank you did not shelter enough of what I was grateful for; the light she brought to my eyes to make me fall in love with life once again, the reinstatement of faith and hope and friendship and what that meant to me, but she knew. At least I thought she did because of our smile. The last smile we shared on that vast beach. That was the last time I saw her, my soulmate.
Never have I forgotten the presence of that girl whose world I shared, whose memories I toured and whose friendship I valued. That soul, so rare and flawed, but unique and gentle whose name starts with A. Now whenever I see beauty in the world I smile, for both of us.