There’s something impossibly deep between myself and the sea. It’s like a lifelong love affair, this relationship we share between us, with me being the man (as always) – leaving her and then, without fault, returning when I realize, time and time again, no other could ever compare. Maybe it started when I was a kid, those first few memories I have of my life are connected to the sea and life on a small island. There was something Edmund White wrote in A Boy’s Own Story, where he said that only the first love is true love because later we give into the mechanics of the thing and only recapitulate what we had already found that first time. I don’t know if I agree with him as far as love with other people goes, but as far as the sea is concerned – he could have been right.
I remember that girl of what’s now five years ago, sitting on her balcony with beer and cigarettes always within reach – I remember how she looked at the blue vastness and retraced her life, vainly thinking it would change from then on and wanting to keep it with her, every last detail of it. I remember how she selfishly spewed words onto the keyboard – how they flowed from her like blood or even vomit, and as they flowed she maniacally collected them so that not one would be forgotten – not one memory, not one lover, not one friend whom she would never see again.
Maybe that’s what I’m still doing – following her queue, writing these thoughts down so I could later perhaps relive them, even though I now understand some things lost are gone forever and no amount of visualization or imagination can bring them to life. People disappear and with time you forget them, although some seem to magically reappear years later like a misplaced story or college assignment you can’t even remember writing. Maybe that’s what makes life this exciting – that you never know what or who is around the corner, that we are all swimmers in its sea and as hard as you try to steer it in your direction, sometimes a current catches and takes you with. It’s frightening, and humbling, and beautiful.
The sea understands me, understood that girl – she touches every shore at once. She has her fingers – her rivers – in everything. And what if I am sometimes unfaithful, and late, for our rendezvous? I do not have the luxury she has, of always being everywhere. People have to travel. And I am, more than most perhaps – traveling. That’s why she never holds it against me, like a wife, always welcoming me with open arms. She understands what I go through every once in a while, when I am stuck in a place I don’t want to be stuck in, when monotony sets in and I can’t write any more, when I can only rehash old ideas and copy myself – she understands what I need then, a landscape I haven’t seen or a lover I haven’t had inside me. She sees my mind. And when I talk, I know she’ll listen, because people rarely talk to adulteresses and Lord, I should know, it is a lonely life to spend in silence.
We converse in motion – my body contorts inside her, hands caressing the surface, and she lulls me into security, keeps me up with her power, never letting me fall. I love her as much to think that, when all of the other lovers have gone, she is the one I would want to keep. To sit beside her in my old age, us two old friends, and share my stories with her – those I now so compulsively write on any paper or computer that comes my way. My stories, and in them my life, which looks better on paper because on paper, everything seems like something someone else might wish to read, or experience. Perhaps I feel it gives my life a weight it would not otherwise have.
What I would really like to do once, though, is to go to the coast alone. Get a room with a view, buy some good wine, and sit on my balcony watching her – the eternal tease – and then, maybe, my life would be clearer to me, as it was to that girl of eighteen who looked at the sea and wrote a damned good story about it, but also – wrote one about herself and how she’d aged, grown up, changed. What would I write of now? What am I writing of? Where can you find a fixed point in insanity and say – I am different from then? Oh, but I am just like the sea, I will never truly be fixed or settled, or even sane. I am just like a man. I will always leave. But I am also a woman, and will always remain faithful to this, the first love I’ve ever known.