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the old woman and the sea

published: 2011-02-27

Maybe it was the thrashing of waves against a shore I had spent innumerable days digging my feet and fingers in the sand. A fine sand in blacks and yellows, resembling marble. In a flash, I ran into that turbulent sea, with its strange currents that collide, forming dangerous pools of darkness. And even more hours I had spent in that unwelcoming sea, deciphering the sandbanks and understanding the force and speed and direction of every wave. To then suddenly stop short knee-high, and to not proceed. To not dive in. As I no longer know, nor understand that unchanged sea, neither di I belong in it. Would it reject me, I wondered? Or would it welcome me as a long lost child? And why couldn’t I simply trust that sea to not be as judgemental as I feared it might be? If I were to drown, if such was the fate she had in mind for me, then why not gracefully accept that? Surely there are worse ways to die than in the lap of a mother who’s child I once was, however intens she may now seem compared to the faded caleidoscope of my youth?
The false promise we call childhood. The lie written in the past, casting shadows on present, projecting images we fear.
Or maybe it was simply the stars I had so often looked at, through the same leaves of palmtrees.
Whatever it was had me crying. I was walking circles in the sand, while sobbing. On this, the penultimate evening of my visit to Africa, to places of the past. To things I had forgotten and will remember only here.
The writer in me would attempt to call this sudden sobbing ‘catharsis’ right before the final sequence. Yet writers recreate just as many lies as those that are dictated to them by their past. Catharsis is a fabrication. There is only one truth and it is this: confusion.

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