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Children playing in the sand: A memoir

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Feb. 13th, 2009 | 08:49 pm
mood: sadsad
music: Hot Hot Heat - So So Cold

Somehow I guess I always knew it would end this way: Sudden, random, and incomprehensible. It had been a year since I had last seen her. Relatively, that wasn't necessarily a long time, but I was counting down the days in anticipation. When I heard from her, it came just as I expected: late, sudden, and random. It was almost three in the morning, and I had known that she had been in town for nearly a week already, but as I held my cellular phone in hand with "one unread message," my aggravation melted away. Of course, I left immediately.

She was staying with a friend about forty minutes away, and I spent the time listening to dumb love songs, as if I weren't high enough. When I reached the house and she got into my car I could have gone into shock. I always felt this way when I saw her. We drove away towards the beach as she began to explain to me the current events of her life. I nearly missed the conversation as I became lost in the sound of her voice, her scent, her clothes, the way she sat, her expression, her eyes. I might have wished that I had time simply to observe these things, but due to some reason or another that was a luxury we never had. Every time I saw her she always remarked that I smelled the same, and I always replied, "so do you." And it was true.

I knew she loved the beach, this was not the first time we had gone, and when we arrived I knew the drill. She excitedly ran ahead of me towards the water and then carefully surveyed the nearby sand: a little bit to the left, and then a little bit to the right before bursting into a sprint down the coastline. I stood anticipating her return, enjoying the breeze and the solitude of the night, wondering if my daughter would develop the same routine. I loved how the beach transformed her into a child and in seeing her, I too felt young. And time was compressed, because at that moment I may have been fifteen or I may have been twenty three. It didn't matter, my bond with her rendered time irrelevant.

In moments I saw her running back towards me and into my embrace. She intently pressed her ear against my cheek and I realized how cold it was outside, I was cold, but I didn't feel it, she was here. I had come to adore these little expressions of affection from her. I may have been in high school when she would press her fist into my palm, wanting me to squeeze it. But right now I was on the beach, with her ear against my cheek, and now she was standing on my feet, and I loved her.

The sun was coming up and it was time to go and I realized how late it was, I was tired, but I didn't feel it, she was here. We didn't talk all that much, but over time I had learned that words sometimes complicate or demean things, so we stayed quiet. Much in our relationship was implied, but I felt those those implications were strong. When she did say something to me, it was always meaningful and she was never simply "talking." I was reviewing the implied statements she had said to me over the years, which were dear to me. I remembered her telling me that she had changed her mind, that it might be nice to get married, or that she would give me pretty babies. I remember telling her that one day I would probably inherit my parents house and she said, "and then we'll sell it." In the end though, it would appear as though I placed far to much emphasis on implied meanings.

The following night I picked her up and we returned to the beach. And she did her routine, and I held her. I kissed her neck and thought of Christmas time eight years prior. She was sitting with her back against her bed writing thank you cards and I was laying down watching her. Her hair was up in a bun leaving her neck exposed and I longed for her. That was the first time I kissed her, and she stopped for a while and didn't respond. I had thought I made a mistake and retreated into the bathroom. Momentarily she appeared and kissed me on the cheek. An implied 'yes' to my implied question. There were some issues in our relationship. If she lived on the other side of the country, if our relationship was based on implications, wasn't that normal? Did it matter? On the drive home I was exhausted, I almost couldn't drive straight and I wanted her to hold my hand and momentarily she did. I thought of what she said last year, "I like the way my hand fits in yours." And I loved her.

On the third day I asked her if she wanted to see me and I became agitated at a delayed response. Precious little time was left and I did not want to waste it. We fought, and I did not understand. The rule of three prophecy came true.

Later I called her, seeking understanding and we fought, and I did not understand. She left and I was remorseful, and I thought of the issues which had persisted in our relationship over the years, I reviewed what was said on the third day, futilely trying to correlate anything. I held her necklace and wept because it was over and still I did not, do not, will not understand.

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