Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Black (10/15/09)
TITLE: His Beach
By Jessica Ryder
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This ocean wasn’t my home. I was used to the tall, green mountains that sheltered my small town. I was used to the chirp of bluebirds, not the harsh squawk of seagulls looming over me. I was used to the crisp country air, not the salty stickiness that hung around me here. I was used to the breeze that cooled my skin, not the burning heat of the summer sun. This wasn’t my home, it was his.
In the dark, it was hard to make out the blue waves that poured in and spread across the sand. I only saw an endless black in front of me now; the same color that matched the dress I was wearing. Black, cold and lonely -- it explained me completely now. It’s so strange how one minute someone can go from being content to feeling completely lost and alone the next.
I spun my engagement ring around on my finger and stared into the night. I thought about our plans for getting married on this beach but didn’t smile. I thought a wedding in a cabin would have been much nicer, but I would have done anything to make him happy. I would have had an annoying seagull as my ring bearer if that was what he wanted. He loved this beach, so I would too.
Tears welled in my eyes as I thought about the dress hanging in my closet back home. I was so sick of crying at this point but it was inevitable as I pictured the beautiful white dress he would have loved. It was nothing like the black silk that clung to my skin right now. I didn’t wipe the tears away because black dresses and tears were what people were supposed to wear at funerals, right?
It didn’t really matter though because I didn’t stay at the funeral. I’d left right after they started talking about him like he was a thing of the past. I knew he was dead now but I didn’t want to hear everyone talking about him like an old memory. He was still too fresh in my mind to say goodbye, even though I knew I was alone now.
As I stared into the black night, I knew I couldn’t look at the ocean any longer. I picked up my shoes off the sand beside me and started walking back towards the church. The church that held his friends and family with tear streaked faces and tissues wadded in their cold hands. I knew they would just smile at me with pity and hug me with sympathy for the millionth time. I didn’t want their sympathy. I just wanted my lonely, black heart to feel something other than pain again.
I stopped and my feet sunk into the sand. I remembered my purse I’d left sitting beside me and turned around to fetch it. When I reached the spot I was sitting at I saw two sets of footprints in the sand. It took my breath away for a second and then I remembered my shoes I had setting beside me earlier. I knew I’d made both sets of footprints, but it reminded me of the familiar story I’d read about God‘s footprints in the sand.
I dropped my shoes and fell down to my knees in front of the two identical imprints. My face found my hands as I started to sob a deep, fulfilling cry. After his death I’d thought God had left me. I thought He had given up on me somewhere along the way as I burned inside with a lonely emptiness. Staring at the footprints I realized God hadn’t gone anywhere. I wasn’t alone, He was sitting right there with me taking in the black ocean and piece of the man I loved -- the man and ocean that He’d created and can take away with His own hands.
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