As evening falls, he tells me there is a vein in my forehead that only appears when I am thinking.
I think about that. I wonder if the vein is visible now.
I am thinking about the sea.
I have always lived near the sea. The sea has always lived inside me. Its constant throb is the percussion of my heart. The sea has long been my companion, a witness to my life.
My unfathomable familiar.
My lips have opened for kisses while the white sea-spray has covered me like a foamy bridal veil. My heart has been broken to the sound of the breakers; the salty scent, a perfume of grief in my mouth.
I have buried loved ones on the out-going tide, my tears soaked up by wet sand. Damp ashes on my tongue.
I have drowned myself in love and swallowed great gulps of sorrow as I have given up my dreams and secrets to the swift currents.
I have let the waves carry me.
But this night, I am thinking.
This night, I sit under a canopy of stars with an unbroken shoreline at my feet. It is vast and unknowable. I am tiny and insignificant.
I feel the ocean’s pull. I fear the rip, but long for the comfort of the cool depths. I ache for sand between my toes and the numbing cold that warms up my limbs through sheer force of will. I feel the inevitability of the tide. The constant flow, the gush, the soak of blood as it sweeps through my body and I wonder if it has caused my vein to rise.
All around me is the quiet earth.
The unsettled sea is the only noise.
The only light is the burning tip of my cigarette and the sharp sting of a falling star.
The night sky is frozen in a falling firework display, the stain of starlight smeared across inky space, captured in a quick blink of a newly opened eye.
This holy canvas draws my breath from me. I can trace the constellations with my eye. There is meaning there, waiting to be deciphered, but I cannot read it.
There is only silence. I breathe it in.
There is a lighthouse high on the rocks. It lends me its irregular light. The beam sweeps the dark bay warning passing ships, but I pay it no heed.
For I have long had a talent for shipwrecks.
But this night, there is only this:
The sky. The stars. The sea.
The stretching dark.
I am thinking again. I try to feel the vein in my forehead but my mind is filled instead with a canopy of light. The stars have entered my eyes and I am drunk on their milky glow.
I think about the endless love affair of the sea and the sky. The unquenchable thirst of the stars. The longing of the sea to touch, just once, the hem of the horizon.
One cannot exist without the other. They are locked in an eternal embrace. They are mirrors for each other. The endless ocean reflecting the beauty of the sky. The moon showering light down upon her lover each and every night.
In the darkness, he tells me I think too much.
I think about this. I wonder whether my vein has risen.
I turn back to the dark ocean. The footprints I left there in the afternoon have been washed away. There is no trace of what I left behind. I have been salvaged by the sea.
The waves have swept away the darkness within and the sky has given me a map of stars to navigate by.
My mind reaches for the past.
I think about the future.
He asks me what I am thinking. I tell him that I can see my life inching towards me, stepping out of the darkness, shimmering and salty. I smile as I tell him I am ready to meet it.