By: Skye Sweven
Sand slips through my fingers.
The sky is dusty gray, with a mix of amaranthine glow reminding me that it is dawn. This time of the morning is quiet. Stars, too, must feel this way, as they lose their glitter on the clouds and begin to fade away into the break of day. The sea breeze shyly tousles the silky strands of my black hair. When I sniff in a handful of breath, the somewhat sticky smell of salt still lingers in the air. My nose has tinged slightly pink, but the cold is the least of my concerns.
Dreamscape. Oh, would it have been a dreamscape, had not the ocean been taken away from us.
The vintage radio barely held together with duct tape consistently spits out hisses of static noises. It isn’t time yet. I once again run my hand through the sand absentmindedly. Sighing, I let the soft grains fall to the ground. Some blow away as the wind catches them before the fall. Then I lay my blank gaze on the horizon—where the sand meets the sky and the sun prepares its rise to shed its luminance on the godforsaken land. What use is all this sea of sand when there is no sea?
A few melancholic moments later, the first line of orange finds its way through the crusts of the earth. My pupils greet the emergence of the sun’s young rays. They soon taint the purple sky blood red—the lighter it gets as their hands stretch further toward the withdrawing dominion of night.
I nearly don’t notice the static noises morphing into unintelligible debris of voices. It is finally time. I raise the volume on my beloved radio and adjust the frequency so I can get a clearer sound of whatever’s coming through the aged speakers. And then, taking the machine in my palms, I listen to the sounds it delivers as I fix my eyes on the dreamscape unraveling before my eyes.
Waves crash onto the shore, spewing white foam everywhere. Children giggle when the briny drapes of seawater chase them away from the borders of their emerald empire. Dogs shake the moisture off their furs as they run alongside their masters. Families are having the time of their lives, basking in the sunlight and relishing the summer bliss. The clear blue sky blesses every soul underneath its embrace with a feeling of revival and freedom.
A small smile appears on my dry lips. I can see it. I can see the ocean, not through my eyes but through my ears and my heart. The sound of the bygone days oozing from the radio opens the inner eyes within me. It is almost as if I’m back in those times, before I grew up, before I lost everyone, before the ocean was taken from us. I’m once again the clueless, innocent 7-year-old building sand castles with my brothers and sisters. Wading in the shallow parts of the ocean to observe curious sea creatures that resemble the stars. Listening to the radio as my mother rubs sunscreen all over my back for the fourth time that day.
My reminiscence is suddenly interrupted by the familiar static noise. Time’s up. The abrupt quiet is like a slap in the face, but it does what it should to scoop me back to reality. The sky is already a palette of myriad hues. Stronger than before, the wind brushes all the hair off my face and takes away my purple scarf in its grasp. Golden light is approaching.
I scramble to my feet, facing the rising sun with a million different feelings muddled up in my heart. I know this is unhealthy. I know that clutching at the echoes of what had been will never get me anywhere far from these shores of asphyxiating solitude. I know what I see every morning is but an illusion, and that it will never bring back the ocean that had been taken away from us.
But I also know this. I will come back to this same spot every dawn, watch the same sunrise and relive the past through the radio again and again. Again and again until there is no past for me to remember anymore.
I look at the radio hissing in the sand. A single tear travels down my flushed cheeks as I shift my gaze to my shaking palms.
Memories slip through my fingers.