Story – Toes in the past




He came from more than a few thousand miles away, stepping from his current home in an obscure, dainty country and onto the rich and famous and worshiped sand of a Southern California beach where he had once met a wholesome girl when this was his home as a kid, a teenager, and standing alone on this beach he found himself vibrating with a lust for his life way back then, and he measured the years, some of its memories, as his toes disappeared into the sand, the grains, into the ocean water that came and went.


The surf was blown so there wasn’t much to gaze at, so he wiggled his fingers in the on-shore wind to feel that. He thought of what’s her name, the wholesome girlfriend’s name he knew but wanted to pretend he no longer remembered from forty years back. Not remembering her name would prove he had moved on emotionally and romantically, then again, in some fuzzy, pathetic way, he would teach her a four-decade old lesson by not remembering her name.


Turning, he looked at a place on the beach behind him and saw her sixteen year old face in his head and imagined, briefly, that face now, a senior citizen, and failed, gladly, to bring the inevitable stains and mini-massacres that had to have happened to her over time. She stayed sixteen and amazingly in like/love with him.


He recalled surfer friends, many dead, most half disappeared if not barely half-remembered. Once he had had true surfer skills, zooming on waves, agile, graceful, inventive, all his current memories waiting for him in the future, which was happening now. Never again would he be that good again with the surf for the remainder of this whatever.


His feet got covered in the sand as the sand drained from his brain. His past, his present, the sharp and dim memories. The breeze in his brain.
He felt the inoperable lump bulging from inside his throat while watching impossible clich├ęs before him. The golden sunset. The lap of waves and rolling sand. The endless hush sound the water made coming and going.
He sat down on the beach, eyes glues to the fading gold of the goodbye sun.
He lay down on the beach and closed his eyes.
He waited for one of two things to stop first: the memories or the lump mutating inside his throat.
He knew which would stop. But not quite yet. Not yet.

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4 Responses to “Story – Toes in the past”

  1. BAILLIEUL says:

    I’m on the beach, right there, with him…

  2. francisco miranda says:

    A very old an most dear friend died last monday in california.it`s been very difficult for me these past days.my hands are shaking as i write this. your story just hit the spot right now. thank you from the inner most part of the reason i exist.

  3. Louise-M.Quisquater says:

    I haven’t forgotten her either, the beautiful blonde Lorraine who made me feel like an ugly frog. But the prince kissed me and I turned into a princess, at least for a while! Sic transit gloria mundi.
    Hard to believe it happened so long ago and that the years glide indeed by as sandgrains on the beach. Very well put Vincent.8

  4. Dennis A. says:

    Ahh, South Oceanside, the Buc, gathering on Cody Munhoffen’s lawn and watching for the fire station flag to droop and show evening glass, time to surf….(I wasn’t cool enough to join that group but the image lasts in my mind)
    I still live in these places, holding “then and now” in a space bordered by longing and relief.

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