Waves crash white against the beach, but in the bay it’s a slow and steady rippling effect delaying the wearing away of the shore, stealing away inevitable crashing for barely stripping down.
Stripped — a word full of metaphors. Stripped down like a wire. Stripped of all my hope. Stripped from these clothes. Stripping tripping through a dance on a pole. Stripped for your pleasure. Stripped and striped in lashes full of pain.
I’m on the other side of happiness, again.
I remember — long night, warm like a wool blanket pressed against our bare legs, exposed arms. A train came rushing on. Blaring yellow light like the sun. And we stood like silent sentinels, just motionless hands held like chain links locked from shoulder to shoulder. And who knew we’d fail when the pressure came? When the crashing waves came? Who knew those links were so frail they’d fray like fiber optics instead of steel?
Over a river, a high arching bridge led us through a sad, sorrow-riddled city. Metaphors abounded then and in the present now. A tragic trajectory we could not avoid. Like a rainbow in the sky. Like a parabola arching toward the earth. We were set for this course. But the wearing down of purpose and intent dulled the knowledge in our minds, clouded by the slow beat of time.
We got caught up in the current and we lost that line. The thread that bound us to that place in that time. We let it slip across our palms and strip our skin raw. Then we let it go and let it rot.
Now our fingers are burned with the marks. The forgetfulness to keep an ear on the track, keep a weapon at our back, keep the memory of the knowledge of the end. We were like prophets knowing the close of the book, back then.
The beauty of the place could not stop it’s descent into the ocean.
And the lives it would ruin by its dissolution did not quell the sea, did not make the stones rise up against the coming flood. That city sat so quietly as it was drowned to cries of excitement over it’s elegant allure. It’s marvelous curves. It’s twists and turns.
We got lost in those curves, turning always the wrong way, back on ourselves again. Until help was the only way — and the way out had been right before our eyes. A choice we had not wanted to make because we thought it “selling out”.
As soon as we sold out, we saw reality for what it was.
Our narrow minds expanded, then, on water glittering with reflected lights like fireflies skipping through the night. And the wind on our face as the boat carried us back was relief, personified.
I remember sighs I didn’t understand, and one statement that I’ll never forget:
“I’m so screwed.”
If I had only known then what those words would mean now. If I had known what they meant you to at any point.
Another year. And we’ve sunk another meter further and the tenants must move out of their homes. Soon, the square will be unrecognizable and the towers will be but markers in the water where once the city was.
Nothing can save it.
But it is beautiful in its sadness.
And that much — we knew from the start.
A solemn song drifting through interwoven alleyways color the sunset with a sorrowful hum. We do not know the words, nor have we ever heard them. But the harmonies resonate, and we both know why.
The sun, then, was setting on another time. We see it now like looking through a glass into the past. And funny how it doesn’t hurt any more or less. I think, in that darkening square, we must have touched this moment somehow. And known that it would end. And known that it would have been worth it.