Early morning on the beach, a misty, dirty cloud covers the sun. A low haze hangs over the sea. The waves are weak. It’s already hot. Two days ago, my daughter said, “I want to leave.”
“You want to leave Spain?” I asked.
“No, I want to leave.”
I knew what she was talking about. I'd been thinking the same and I told her so.
For a moment, we both felt better.
Only a trickle of people walk the water's edge. Some out to exercise; running or striding quickly. Almost everyone wears bathing suits, women with straps tied around backs instead of shoulders. No tan lines, I guess. An older woman’s breast hangs out of her suit. She doesn't bother putting it back. No one cares. Women go topless here in Alicante.
Couples, most all. I am alone.
The silver sea is capped with foaming white waves. People pass like illusions. Wondering what their lives are like, I gaze down at footprints in the sand. The impressions dissolve with two or three brushes of waves, just like me, just like I have dissolved from lives, cities, jobs, friendships. How nicely this metaphor, this cliché, works.
Pale, cushioned benches under yellow umbrellas line up in neat rows, a new addition on Campello beach. Tourists, most from Madrid, have dropped in with big city arrogance and cash. Past tense are days of silence teased by palm branches brushing the balcony railing, birds chirping choruses accompanied by pulsing waves. The Spanish people are beautiful. Especially young girls with black eyes, long faces, large, long noses and thick, black hair. Picasso proportions.
When did my anger morph to despondency? I've risen, like the waves, to the occasion, crashed it, turned around healthy and gone back in again. Too many times. I'm tired of fighting for alright, joy, my verve. I hate getting older. Just one more thing out of control.
Only a few people wear masks on the beach. One blue-masked woman carries a purse which she lifts to her face like a tiny wall each time someone passes. People protect their health, their lives. We’re survivors. It's in our DNA. But I want to leave, end the fight for fundamentals, bread and water, work, love, belonging.
Did I become so strange no one wants me? I’m tired of blaming myself. Tired of knowing no one wants to hear me asking for help again. Tired of putting my chin up, my chest out and pretending I can do it alone. Tired of the pain of losing people who loved me but are gone like footprints after a few gentle, morning waves.
Afraid of the future, disappointed in the past, the present as elusive as a just world.
I ran to a Spanish desert
from cruelty, injustice, people,
fled with my sense of helplessness, ineffectualness, meaninglessness. Intimidated by hate. Afraid of civilization’s monsters. Ashamed that I am not David or anyone at all. That I am vulnerable and tired.
I cower in solitude.
A child looking through a crack in a door
as adults fight and the mean adult pushes the weaker, kinder adult against the hard edge of a suffocating knee, and going down the kinder adult, the gentle giant, takes the sheets and drapes and comforter and all the murdered innocents along. A flimsy torn, tired piece of cotton catches a candle’s flame. Fire crackles, cracks like a breaking windpipe, and consumes the room. My hair catches fire
as I watch the room burn,
my daughter’s room,
her grandmother’s room,
her father’s room,
her granddaughter’s room.
The desert around me, dry and dark, is ready to burn as well.
For hope, the house comes down.
They are not birds’ wings.
Not really a Biography
I have always been inclined to move forward, roll the stone, down, and often up, hills. I've tried to write through it all. Everything on this blog is written by me.