Not a lot of people realize just how dark the sea is at night.
It’s extremely dark.
Night rolls in, oppressing the horizon line. You look out, wondering where the ocean ends and the sky begins. The stars glitz in the distance, lights that are long since gone. A small condolence for the onslaught of blinding night. A tiny indicator, for those who are in the know.
The northern stars blinks.
And I blink back.
The night is dark.
The ocean still roars.
And I’m still blind.
My feet dip into the sand, the tiny grands slipping between my toes as they beg me to stay still.
I’m not a monument though. Not a tree. Not a thing to be planted and gawked at.
I’m a person.
And I have to move.
So I do.
I move down the sand while it protests. I walk the shore as the ocean talks. As it yells.
At this time, when the night is in full control, it’s the only sound to be heard.
No cars, no seagulls, no tourists. Only the sounds of the ocean, of the beast itself. The creature that has been here since long ago, since way before my own time. The incessant roaring of the thing that will be here, long after I’m gone.
It’s so dark now, the foaming ocean.
During the day, it’s murky at best. You’re able to see a foot deep on a good day, and the rest is swept up by the seaweed. By the sand. By whatever else lies in the water. It’s impossible to see the bottom. To know where it ends.
It’s even worse at night.
When all you can hear is the monster growl, and all you can see it how it drags things away from the land, merciless in its hunger.
It’s even worse.
I wonder, briefly, how much the ocean can hold.
How much it’s eaten.
How many have been lost to sea? How many treasures have been buried beneath the waves? How many lives choked out by the mighty hands of Poseidon?
It sends a shiver down my spine.
Or perhaps that’s simply the atmosphere.
The ocean, no matter where you live, is always a bit cooler at night. When night rolls in, a new breath escapes the seas. A cool breath. A refreshing breeze that smells of sea brine and change. A cold exhale brought by the night.
The sudden change can be disarming. Can shake you. Often times, it does, even if only a little.
Another shudder rocks through me as the wind sweeps around me, and I step off the sand, onto the rocks.
They’re rough under my feet. Cracked. Jagged. One false move, or one solid push from the ocean, and I could bleed out here on the rocks. Bleed out before the ocean.
I pick my way carefully over them though. Their teeth and edges familiar against the soles of my bare feet.
I come here often.
Nearly every night.
Though, you’ve probably guessed that.
Who would know so much about something they’re unfamiliar with?
I take my place on my usual rock. Allow my legs to dangle over the side.
The ocean licks at my legs. Punching hard against the rocks, splashing its frothy drool against my legs as it hunger for my presence.
Of course, this, too, is familiar.
I ignore it.
I watch the sky instead. Look to the northern star. Wonder about the kindness it uses to guide us. After a moment, my eyes fix to the spot where I think the horizon is. Try to find the seam where the heavens and the depths are stitched together. The seam where things drop off, never to be seen again.
Beauty is a dangerous thing.
That’s what the ocean has always taught.
Sailers, old and new, have gone off. Venturing into the waters. Only to never be seen again. Sometimes they find their vessels. Other times, they don’t. Occasionally, there’ll be a note, some sort of indicator as to what happened. Sometimes it’s other men that take people. Pirates, or scoundrels, or murderers. Cold blood on the cold nights the ocean turns its back on. On the pleas it chooses to ignore.
Beaches and summer have always been a married theme. They seem to go hand in hand. A beach is supposed to give warmth, sun, excitement.
But that’s the beach during the day.
There are always two sides to one coin.
I have the unfortunate disposition to be unable to ignore that.
This part of the ocean—the cold, withholding parts that bring chills—is just as valid. Just as much the ocean as the other part. The part that lives during the day.
Personally, I think it’s even more valid.
I find that the hidden side of a coin is always most telling. The side that brings more character. That speaks more freely, and more truly.
The ocean eats the shore away during the day, just the same as it does during the night.
It’s just not as frightening during the day, that’s all.
Easier to ignore amongst the laughter and games.
But not for me.
For me, this part of the ocean is the part that I cling to. That I know best. The part I know to be most true.
It’s what led me to him.
“I see you,” I mutter to the dark waves, the hungry waters.
And he eyes me.
Two glowing stones, like corals on fire, reach through the murky water to stare at me. Looking just as deeply at me as I am at them.
The eyes of the ocean.
“I see you,” I tell him, a little more directly.
One of the green fires winks away for a moment, returning in the next.
He’s handsome, I’m sure he is. I’ve never seen him face to face before, never seen him directly, but I know he’s handsome.
That’s the appeal of the ocean.
The old sailers, the ones who believed in sirens, they had it right.
The tenets of the ocean. Mystery of the waves explained.
He blinks at me from under the waves. Murky water juxtaposed to his clearly brilliant eyes.
“Sorry, I still don’t feel like drowning,” I tell the little green flames. Rejecting them once more. They stutter, as if disappointed.
I smirk at him. The one thing I can see in the dark abyss before me. In the maw of this settled sea and night.
I know what they are.
Ocean stars. Pointing directly against the ones of the sky.
And that’s why he won’t ever have me.
I shudder as another wave hits me. A cold, wet assault on my bare feet.
“It’s too cold down there for me anyway.”
Author’s note: a few years ago, I found a band called Goodnight Neverland, and he has this really beautiful, enchanting music and I really dig it. Specifically, this was a bit inspired by Wild Summers. In case anyone was wondering 🙂