|Panama City Beach, FL|
Photo Credit: TS
The tie-dyed sky was a mix of deep oranges and purples touching blue. On the vast second-level balcony facing the beach, she closed her eyes again and inhaled the scent of sea salt, feeling her stress fade with each exhale. Only a few lingering pieces linked her to the life she left behind. Again a shrill sound rang in her hand. She silenced the cell and instead listened to the waves as they splashed the huge rocks and licked the sand along the shoreline. The waves reminded her of the downpours pelting against her old bedroom window late at night.
She wanted to walk across the boardwalk, onto the hot sand, and out into the cool water to feel the wetness just around her ankles even though she didn’t like the motion of the waves. The ocean was a moving highway, and she was the parked car. She was afraid of falling and she couldn’t swim. Yet she was still drawn to the ocean, her soon-to-be source of cleansing and renewal.
California seagulls soared ahead, their crying and calling reminding her of her child. A sea of salt flowed down her cheeks, seasoned her lips, and dripped off her chin. No other decision was deemed to be as difficult, not even during her high-stakes, high-pressure career. She remembered rereading the words she wrote letting loved ones know she left on her own. She didn’t want to be chased. No tracking and tracing, no facing of fears, no doubting or disappointing. Her cell shrieked again. She should've left it behind.
She stared at it for a few seconds before she tossed it into the air toward the ocean and watched it splash the surface. A light breeze blew in from the water, creating a cool mist on her tear-streaked face. She brought a few family photos down with her to the shore's edge. Her hands shook as she shuffled them, giving them one last glance. She tore the pictures into tiny pieces, not daring to watch as they caught in the wind and danced around her. As the pieces fell, she slowly wiped her face, allowing it to be moistened with a new layer of mist. She then turned and walked back towards her new life, leaving behind the remnants of the one that was.