While the waves eddied around my ankles, the wind pushed against me; a counter balance to the current pulling me forwards. I dug my feet more firmly into the sand, sharp grains scratching between my toes as I wiggled them. I tasted salt as I took a deep breath, the crisp air chilling my lungs and the brackish tang of rotting seaweed making my nose wrinkle.
I savoured the sensations; giving each careful attention lest I’d never feel them again.
Gazing across the glittering surface, I squinted my eyes against the glare. A sheet of azure broken by undulating white foam stretching on forever. Of course I knew that somewhere beyond the horizon was land and ships and huge blue whales but right now it was just me and the sea.
I took a step forward, the water splashing up my legs and dampening the bottom of my rolled up jeans. But it was only another sensation; just something else to feel and remember. The wind shifted slightly, tugging me to the side and causing me to stumble; my recently placed footing not as stable as before. I threw my arms out to the side, comically wobbling as I tried to re-anchor myself back in the sand. But I fell. My was balance not what it was; the effects were already taking over my body. I crashed into the water. Brine went up my nose and into my eyes stinging as my hands scraped against the seabed trying to find a hold which did not exist.
And so I sat in the water, half laughing, half crying as the cold seeped through my clothes and into my skin. How alive I felt! How deeply, painfully alive. My heart tugged as a sputter of sea water turned into a sob. I continued to sit in the water, ignoring the numbness that creeped into my bones just allowing myself to feel.
My eyes followed a pod of porpoises surfing the waves at almost the edge of my vision and I wondered what it’d be like to join them. Before I realised what I was doing I’d started swimming towards them. I stopped and sat back in the water. I’d not gone far, the water only coming halfway up my chest but it was significantly harder to breathe. The pressure of the water against my lungs coupled with the icy temperature made me gasp.
It was too painful so reluctantly I stood. The water dragged against my clothing, sapping my remaining strength. Stumbling to the shore I flopped down onto the dry sand, stealing what little heat it’d absorbed during the day. After catching my breath, I propped myself up on my elbows, watching the sea again. The porpoises had swum away and once again it was an unending mask of blue. And so I lay there, watching as it grew darker, turning from blue to yellow to grey as the sun lowered towards the horizon. I was shivering but it was easy to ignore as I just existed. Watching, waiting, remembering. I drew comfort that even when I was no longer able to remember the sea, it would remember me. It would go on, eternally being. Other people would also visit it, they would also come and go. But for now, it was just me and the sea.