It's the first day back after the long Fourth of July holiday weekend. A commuter near me is particularly agitated and Shhhh-ing anyone who utters a peep in his "quiet" car. The door is jammed and rhythmically knocks; this happens when the train isn't level. My sunburn is itchy. I close my eyes.
Waves are pounding against the shoreline. I am back on the beach alone with the rush of the wind and my thoughts. My college roommate's mother always said "never go into the deep confines of your mind alone, it's a dangerous place." I went there anyway. Other than the gulls, the waves, the wind, all the sounds God intended to bellow on into perpetuity uninterrupted, there is silence. The sound of silence. I am not accustomed to it, rather more familiar with noise.
I resort to talking in the moments I doubt myself. Discomfort creeps in and I feel an urgency to explain. When I am wronged, the first remedy is to utter the words: to my mom, my husband, the cats, even social media "friends" if very desperate. I try not to do this as I know everyone has their own set of complex issues and Facebook makes a poor therapist. As I sit, I'm reminded of my Nana's love of the sea. She used to walk the beach with her mom early morning until noon each day in the summer. I lay back on the cold sand and fog rushes over me like J.K. Rowling's dementors. I peer into the sky and pray for peace in my heart and in the hearts of the people I love. Anxieties try to challenge my serenity but I do not let them in. I am regenerated alone on the beach with no one around to judge or affirm. The sea reacquainted me with silence, the silence that the city took from me. The sea taught me to stop filling the space, to forfeit the spewing of words, when silence can heal instead.
James knew to lure me from my slumber with the promise of cold brew iced coffee each morning: the Nitro variation from How You Brewin is the Guinness of iced coffee and Chameleon Cold Brew served at the Dockside Diner is my new elixir. When hunger peeled us from the sand, we cooked. My sun kissed skin still warm from the beach and my unruly curls contained with a headband, my uncle said I looked like an Italian peasant farm girl stirring the risotto. It was the best compliment I could have received. We drank wine and indulged in assorted cheeses from The Cheese Shoppe on the front porch to the tune of classic rock. After our bellies were full we would walk around the island and reminisce. We waved at strangers because who could be hostile in a beach town?
On the morning of the fourth, we leapt into our Jeep with the windows down. I wanted to check emails even though I knew driving next to someone with their head planted in a screen would be a nuisance. "I wish for once you would let yourself enjoy your surroundings," he said. So I put my phone down to take it all in. We sang off key. Well he sang off key. I am always on key thanks to Nana and those years of singing lessons. He drummed the steering wheel and I peered at everyone else heading home.