Sunday came. It was a cool morning in Maine, but there was a beach and cool or not, I would go to it.
I pulled a sweatshirt over my sleepy head and poured coffee into a funny cup in the beach house cupboard. It had a tennis raquet on the side and I couldn’t help but smile at the history of this cup. Once, it might have been new. The owners must have liked tennis. I had a stepdad once who taught me to play tennis. I felt like the cup. I felt out of place.
Cup in hand, camera around my neck, I dragged my beach chair down the dirt road named Lobster Lane. I crossed a quiet road, opened a gate, descended three stairs and the beach said good morning. It was high tide and I was happy about that because it meant there was less room for people to crowd it. Less room to think.
I sat by the wall with the ocean so close. Would it reach my feet? Almost, but no. Then it would fall away. Would it come back? It did. I thanked it.
I thought about what the day meant. The one holiday that I could never feel. People were waking up now. Thanking their fathers. Cooking them breakfast. Buying them ties. Holding their hands.
My story isn’t tragic. No one died. There weren’t tears. I didn’t run down a street in a small town begging him to stay. I didn’t bare witness to a horrible divorce.
My story is simple. Like the ocean, he was always somewhere. Sometimes close and sometimes far. Like the ocean, I could count on him to come back, like the cycle of a wave, in a rhythm. But like the ocean belongs in the ocean, and the sand belongs on the beach, the two would never have time, in the quickness of the crash of a wave, to be anything more than aquaintances. There would be just enough time to leave a puddle on the beach, or some salt in the water, to give us a feeling that we’re alike, but to remind us that we don’t belong.
Like the ocean, it would always fall away.