I stood on the shore letting the sea’s advance lap at my feet. I didn’t care that it was winter or that I was wearing my favorite shoes. I needed no protection from the elements when it was my insides that were killing me.

The wind was sharp and blew the trash from the dunes down into the water. A pale blue plastic bag drifted over and wrapped itself around my right foot in the surf. I wondered if it was a sign, since I was desperately in need of one, but the more I stared at it swishing rhythmically about my foot, the more I realized I wasn’t going to find an easy answer to my troubles.

I’d never coped well with the issues in my past. I’m hard on myself by nature and even when the fault is entirely someone else’s I still internalize a terrible seed of it. I couldn’t help the attack-my rational mind knows that-but i couldn’t stop heaping shame and dread on myself. Even today, twelve years later, I stand over an endless horizon wishing the waves would carry me away.

© 2021 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

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