She walked up to the beach every day. And all she would want to do was to sit by the water and watch. She wouldn’t even dip her feet in the water. Sometimes she’d sob but most times she’ll be still, with no emotion on her face. For a 29 year old, Brie was very silent and seemed to understand life better than most of us. She knew what it was like to lose someone, what it was like to grieve, what it was like to deal with failure. On a good day she’d give the best advice to people but somedays she’d just shut up and stand still. Looking at her would be like looking at a still picture will the world moved past her. But she didn’t seem to mind; in fact she didn’t even seem to know.
I’d see her from my bedroom window and wonder who she was and why she would come there. In my part of the town, it was considered rude to talk to strangers but Brie was no stranger. The whole town knew her and they knew the tragedy she’s had to face so early on in her life. Losing her whole family to a fire, she was left with nothing. But I had a questionable urge to talk to her. So one day as I saw her sitting on the beach by herself and I couldn’t resist. I walked up to her and she smiled at me. I thought it was a welcome gesture so I sat down beside her. I wanted to talk to her but I couldn’t think of the right words to use. But she beat me to it.
“Don’t you think the sunset is a sad part of the day? With the sun going down and darkness following, I don’t think even the ocean likes it.”, she said.
I couldn’t think of what to say. She was making conversation with me but knowing her history, I didn’t want to say anything that would upset her. So all I could do was nod my head. A long silence followed and it was making me feel a little uncomfortable so I decided to speak.
“Why don’t we move a little closer to the water? It’s a hot day, the water must feel cool on our feet.”, I said.
The faint smile on her face dropped and she looked at the water that was a couple of feet away from her.
“I don’t let the water touch me”, she said in a very morose tone.
She must have guessed the question on my mind and she continued.
“You know why sea water is salty? Because our tears are salty too. I wonder how many people must have shed tears to create this ocean for us. Yet the tears I shed wasn’t enough to put out the fire and save my family.”, she said.
I was kicking myself by now. I didn’t want to come anywhere near this topic and here I was, listening to her talk about her family’s death.
“Goodbyes are like the sea. You keep coming back to it, it leaves a lingering taste in your mouth and a longing feeling in the pits of your stomach.”
We sat there watching the water rise in absolute silence. As the water rose she walked away before it could reach her. She didn’t say a word; she just picked up and left. I turned back at the water as it came close to my feet. And I moved away, I just couldn’t feel the same way about the beach anymore.
She was right, goodbyes are… well, like that.