Several floors below my room’s window, the ocean rose and fell as if it were a living creature gasping for breath. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.
Like the ocean outside, my chest rose and fell. I was angry.
No, I was disappointed. More disappointed with myself than anyone else. Why do I always let my emotions get the best of me? Why do I hate these consequences that I myself have created? Why did I vent out my frustration on them? Why do I keep ruining their fun?
The sudden ring of the doorbell interrupted my thoughts. I trudged to the door wearily, knowing it was the mailman.
Maybe it isn’t all my fault, I thought. Maybe they were wrong not to listen – after all, any working relationship should be two-sided. I was just being cautious. Why do they keep messing up everything I plan?
A parcel is handed to me, and I thank the mailman with a (completely unconvincing) cheerful voice.
I began doubting myself. What right do I have to put the blame on others? Am I being selfish? Why is it that I keep seeking a shoulder to cry on? Do I want them to see me angry so I receive a little sympathy? Do I really expect someone to always pat me on the shoulder, give me a hug and say it’ll be alright?
I rip open the parcel and cause a few pages of letters to spill out, revealing a large canvas inside. Upon its surface was a stunning painting of a field blanketed by golden wheat that seemed real enough for me to touch. A small signature at the canvas’s edge indicated that it was yet another masterpiece by my cousin. I smiled and placed it by my workplace, a reminder of the beauty that still lingers in this world.
I felt a tear roll down my cheek – perhaps out of nostalgia, anger or regret. Time for a walk outside.
The cool sea breeze greeted me as I stepped out of my house and onto the sidewalk. I marched on towards the pier, past the empty crossroads and past a house belonging to the girl who I wished was beside me. The swaying of conifer trees around me echoed the flutter of my anxious heart.
Why is it that I need her to feel safe? Why do I keep feeling those waves of jealousy? What more do I want? Why does this keep happening over and over again? It’s as if every attempt to force myself together only results in pain. Every word telling myself to stop whining only ends in more tears. As I near the port, I notice how much anger resembles the ocean’s waves: constantly rising until they break, only for the cycle to reset and begin again. I wonder to myself, will this ever stop? Or is the rise and fall of emotion a constant and endless process lasting our entire lives, just as the tides are on this beach? I keep hoping this cycle is a reversible one, unlike the tides which will forever wash upon Port Reid.
As I neared the pier’s steps leading to the beach, a man holding a white suitcase walks up to me. His clothes seem to be covered in sand and dirt, as if he had just tumbled out of a train. A tired, exasperated expression dominates his face.
“Have you seen a large man, perhaps in his 40s, wearing a black overcoat? Perhaps around the port, specifically after yesterday’s last train?”
I shake my head, knowing that it is near impossible to track down anyone once they’ve entered this town. I inform the poor man that he may have luck at the local police station, but there really is nothing I can do. He thanks me with a pat on the shoulder, telling me how upsetting his life has become before hastily making his way towards the town.
For a moment, I only stood in silence. The seagulls overhead began their evening routine of heading out to sea in search of fish. A wall of mist began rolling in from the north, signalling the cold swell that would sweep in tonight. The light of the Sun was all but invisible through the white and purple that surrounded me.
The tides claimed the beach. It was beautiful.
I walked towards the waves, which endlessly breathed in and out, beckoning me towards them. I stopped when I heard soft footsteps matching mine.
A warm, familiar voice broke the peace. “Sometimes you need to just let go,” she said.
“Whether you choose to worry about it, or to just leave it behind you,” she continued, “the outcome will still be the same.”
“You’re still here now. That’s all that really matters.”
I thought about that man on the pier whose life was turned right on its heels. I thought about the ocean which dwarfed my worries. I thought about the mist around us that hid so many wonders beyond the horizon.
She took my hand.
It was then, as the waves swept at my feet, that I knew everything would be alright.