Waves upon the sand

I remember many years ago, my father and I were walking along the beach. He would be getting re-married soon. My toes were encrusted with sand and my jeans were rolled up at the knees, though they were wet anyway.

This was one of the last times I would talk him like that--with no guilt, no baggage, just me and him on somewhat equal footing.

I remember looking out at the waves and telling him, in a cinematic moment, that "everything changes, and that's the hard part about life." I was 14. I wasn't enthusiastic about my father getting re-married. He had married someone after my mom who had been abusive and put everyone in my family through a great deal. I had spent the years building a tentative but true friendship with my father--getting to know him as a bachelor, whose sheets smelled like cowboy boots and dust; who always had guava jelly in his refrigerator; and who played Beethoven on the baby grand his father had given him when he was a child.

Since then, my relationship with my father has had more downs than ups and we barely speak anymore. He's too busy with his two young children and I fill up my life with my career and friends. We're both at fault for what happened and we've both changed a lot since that day on the beach.

I am at peace with how things are now. It feels a bit like getting to the end of a 1000 page novel and acknowledging that the human psyche is too messy to ever leave anything resolved.

But I see other loved ones changing and growing apart from me and that is more difficult. I don't share their genetic makeup, so all that held us together was a likeness of minds and the whim of fate.

Of course, losing friends is a fact of growing up, so I'm told. At least with your family you always have the opportunity to change things, you always have the chance to build unconditional love if both groups want to--well almost always. And with friends, the chapter remains closed until the unlikely event of one person or another changing again.

Friends lost are like dreams that have died. The memory of them holds so much joy and nostalgia, yet is uncomfortably irrelevant now.

And try as I might to remind myself, that "everything changes," I refuse to accept it. I am on the beach and want to catch that pink seashell, on the brink of being washed away. I stomp into the water seeing a glimpse of the shell amidst the foam and dive my hand into the cool sand and come up empty.


Olga said...

I'm so glad you are writing! I never knew what a great writer you are.
Almost wish your dad could read it.

And you know how "great" I am when it comes to losing friends.

Lubie said...

This is a beautiful post, Paige -- perhaps one of my favorites of yours (since I'm sentimental like that). I do wish that you and your dad would at some point in life, revisit that moment on the beach together -- no baggage, no grievances, just simply daddy and his little girl.