You don’t know why it happened and you wish you were alone. The beach is white and soft and deserted under a sky that looks innocent, and the priest, whom you’ve known only as your uncle, is dreary in his robe. You can feel his strength, from where he stands in front of the shore, and know that he has taken a job nobody deserves. He must memorialize the dead and comfort their kin, and he begins with a speech, which you’ll never be able to remember. The others cry but you can’t bear to. You look at their faces and feel, strangely, that these people are painless and have been drained of grief. You though, smallest of the crowd, distant, lone star, cannot think nor feel, but for the taste of October in the mouth, and sounds incomprehensible. The beach is not meant for death, it is the eternity of life and what she-your mother, the one whose died, had loved most dearly. Then the shuffling feet, seaward, men and woman, bearing flowers and ashes, tossed tearfully into the great grinding of the sea. No, this isn’t real, you understand at once, as your own time comes to deliver your mother her resting place. The air isn’t right, or the feeling of water at your feet, or your own tears that are shed shamefully.
She is there now, and when, not by choice, you return to the beach, you feel as though your rocking in the movement of her arms, the waves now and forever. She is ingrained within this sand, the world, but it won’t bring her back. Mother, ancient word, ancient server to futures forlorn. What tragic lives they lead, creating and letting go and hating to. And you swim through this grief, this moving mass of water, and for once, nearly a year past disease and death, you feel her absence curl about you and fill your body. It is not death, but absence. Not grief, but understanding. Not missing, but seeing, and knowing and wishing and understanding. You must hide though, for you don’t tell your friend how you feel, or of the tears you shed before you were picked up, or of the thoughts that came to your mind on the way to her resting place. No. The beach is not made for death, it is made for summer fun, and womanly smiles that taunt you, and so you, once more, mask your grief and hope it will disappear, but it doesn’t. Summer fun is what you’ll have, death, missing, seeing, knowing, wishing and understanding aside. You ignore the holes that your bleeding from. You watch faintly with a false smile and mingled sea-words, as your blood spreads through the gray-blue.