The Empty Beach

Darkness makes the heart grow fonder.


Do you remember the first time you fell in love?

The way your heart pumped as it tried to Morse code to the one you loved. Bump bump. Bump bump. Love me. Love you.
The way your eyes could look only at that person you fell for. Tunnel vision, the tunnel of love.
The way that person smelled. A smell like no other smell you'd ever smelled before or since, a smell key that unlocks that moment kept in the safe box of your memory for the rest of time.
The way time passed. Maybe fast as riding a bullet train straight into the sun, maybe slow as the sprouting and growth of a peace lily, day by precious day.

The way all your problems didn't really seem to matter anymore, because all that mattered was your missing half, your shared blazing passion, and the universe that could only exist when you two were together, a universe only you two knew, a universe you wished to forever call home.


Do you remember the first time you fell out of love?

The way your heart slowed, beating irregularly as it struggled to relearn how to pump on its own again, separated from your former other heart.
The way your eyes began to wander, seeing other faces and other potential partners, wandering more, wondering lots.
The way you smelled less, at least less of the good, less of the magic, not sniffing to unlock that safe box, losing track of the key altogether.
The way time passed, again in hours, minutes, seconds, and days, again with regard for the world around you.

The way all your problems and troubles and worries came back into your forefront, your own problems and problems for you only, the fading light of a dying star that eventually flickered out far away in a universe forgotten.


Do you remember the first time you fell from really high up, not so high that you got hurt, but high enough where you thought, Am I the Chosen One?

The way your heart pounded adrenaline into your veins, giving you the reflexes of a God and the mental fortitude of a Goddess.
The way your eyes dilated wider than they've ever opened before, seeing sights you've never seen, through walls and into the souls of all mere mortals under you.
The way you smelled the strengths and weaknesses of every living being on planet earth, man or animal, worthy or unworthy, fertile or finished.
The way time passed exactly as you allowed it to pass, because you are the controller, the one controller, the all mighty controller.

The way problems had entirely new problems of their own, for you are the one solution, the one chosen by all, whose throne shall only be the top of the mountain, whose wings soar such that they are coveted by eagles, whose laugh quakes the ground and crashes the waves, whose tears raise the tides, whose sadness freezes all the oceans solid, whose excitement spins the globe and alters its orbit, and who still can't be loved even now why what more can I do what more can I give?


It was a chilly morning. I woke up on the beach, right on the sand. I did go to sleep on the beach, so that much made sense. What didn't make sense was why I didn't feel chilly. It couldn't have been warmer than sixty degrees, which by the water feels even colder. Yet, I feel cold.

I sat up and looked over the ocean. A wave rolled in, stayed for a moment, then left, gone forever nope nevermind there's another wave, here, now lost wait there's another wave, it's staying, it's leaving I'm ruined why waves why not stay--

A spray of water spouted into the air far off from shore. A whale. It could have been a pipe in the ocean, I guess, I don't know if there are or aren't pipes in the ocean. Or it could have been some sort of weak water grenade. Perhaps under the gentle rolling surface all hell was breaking lose, jelly fish fighting jelly fish, merman fighting merman, tuna still working together because tuna fish are friends. Or maybe it was like a very small cloud of rain that got flipped over by some sort of Super Mario Galaxy warp, so when it rained it actually went up from the surface of the sea.

The sun just broke the horizon. Scientists seem to think that the sun will always come back everyday for the next four and a half to five million years, at which point it will explode. Well I say how do you know, scientists? Did you talk to the sun? Do you even know the sun? Are you the sun? I don't think so, not to any of these. So until I hear so explicitly from the sun himself or herself--who am I to assume one or the other--I wait for the dawn of everyday. Would it be the end of the world if it didn't come back one day?

The wind picked up as the sun rose, growing the waves and making the grass bend along the edge of the beach. Some sort of small, darting bird floated on the breeze right into then right out of sight, maybe chasing some quick bug, maybe just moving along.

I didn't feel the wind though. I didn't feel it and I didn't hear it.

I didn't feel the sun, either. I could see it, but I didn't feel its heat.

I didn't feel cold. I didn't feel hot. I just didn't feel.

An urge drew my attention to the sand directly beside me to my right. It was the same tiny crystals and particles as all the other sand on the beach. However, it looked like it had the indentation of two legs, a body, and an arm.

An urge drew my right hand to my chest. It was the same skin and cells as all the rest of my body. But it held the feeling of another arm rested on it, the sensation of a clutching embrace displaying its trust and sharing its calm curiosity.

The discovery and memory drew my hand up to its own shoulder. It was the same muscle and tissue over bone as it always was. It wasn't the same as it always was, though. It longed for the warm pressure of a passionate lover, using it as a pillow while listening to the message of my heart.

My heart began to ache, feeling tight and foreign.

The sun was a complete circle in the sky now, dawn having given way to day. My eyes struggled to adjust. It wasn't brightness that challenged them. It was increasing lack thereof.

The sun went from yellow, to gold, to red, to white, and finally, a glowing black.

My heart throbbed pain. I rubbed at my breast to try and sooth it, but with no luck. My head spun as I struggled to understand what was happening. Is it nighttime already? Some sort of daynight?

I felt temperature again. The sand beneath me felt hot, very hot.

Have I gone blind and this is actually just the heat of the sun?

I looked down. The whole beach was so dark, almost black. It was a suffocating darkness.

Except for the imprint in the sand.

It glowed a unique shade of red, freshly exposed blood mixed with melted gold. It was like the color of that zone between red and yellow flames in a scorching fire...

The thought of fire seared my mind.

All the pain in my chest went to my head, doubling every second that passed. A flashbang of white made me close my eyes as hard as I could.

* * *

I could see a campfire burning on the beach. A pile of neatly split logs lay off to the side. I sat on an upturned stump. I had my head tucked between my knees. I held a stick and reached into a bag of Kraft Jet-Puffed Miniature Marshmallows. I stuck as many as I could onto the end of the stick.

"Hey, I said not to let go!" said a voice.

I lifted my head.

Next to me on another stump sat an angel. She had curly brunette hair as lovely a brown as the bark of a willow tree. It hung from her head like the drooping branches of a willow, too. Her nose came up at the end like a cute little ski jump. Her lips were full and perfect. Her kind hazel eyes reflected the dancing flames of the fire. I couldn't tell which gave off more heat.

She reached out her hand and grabbed mine, squeezing it tight. "There, that's better."

I felt warm everywhere. I felt right.

"I love you so much," I said.

She smiled. "I love you too."

I set down my roasting stick and stood up. She stood up a half a step after me, following our joined hands. I hugged her close and kissed her. I felt as if my body was nothing at all, just a network of tingling nerves pulsing excitement.

We stopped kissing and looked at each other once more. She had little faded freckles all over her nose and a mole just above her thick eyebrows. I had never seen a portrait so beautiful.

She released our hug but kept hold of my hand. I looked at her hand in mine. I never wanted to hold anything else but that for the rest of my life.

She smiled again and led me closer to the water. She delicately took a knee and pulled me down with her. We kissed as I laid down and she laid on top of me. Her body felt even better than her incredible hand.

* * *

I opened my eyes. My breath came slow and easy. I looked at the sky. It was normal daytime, a few clouds but mostly sun. I felt the wind on my face. Waves dully roared as they rhythmically rolled in and out, in and out.

I touched the indentation in the sand next to me. It felt cool, exactly the same as the rest of the sand on the beach.

I remembered things I'd said and things I'd done, things I'd regretted and still regret. They were normal, brief memories, simple mental journal entries really no different than any other everyday thought.

I stood up and walked away from the water, off the beach.

I moved my fingers. They felt empty, rather cold. I craved for a fire, no matter how painful it might have been to both start it and put it out.