Brutal effects: journal notes on an ocean shore

by LJ Frank


The rain had ceased.

The muddied footprints washed away. The sand had soaked up the wetness revealing measureless beige granules while showers of sun light between the clouds gave way to a vast cerulean canopy. Fragrances of the deep drifted ashore.

We hadn’t heard each other’s voices in years… and the last intimate moment we spoke in person, perhaps was in a garden… and then… It was on the telephone. I forget whether it was the privacy of a landline or a mobile phone. I suppose that doesn’t matter. What matters was hearing your voice, the nurturing tone, the questions unasked.  Midst the commotion of experience, the interval seemed to choke our thoughts, we were with each other… in absentia. The secular and the sacred overlap especially when fervidly contorted. Thoughts remain near by though awareness feels remote.

We have memories. Memories reside in our hearts and are textured with ambiguity like an abstract impressionistic painting. The painting on the canvas can be misinterpreted like the artist’s brush strokes depicting the unfamiliar if not disconcerting. Why would one judge an artist by one unfinished painting amongst a room of abstract paintings by the same artist?

Then, that one day I heard your voice. Where were you calling from? Or were you an illusion after all… we were in different places. Still, for a minute the distance disappeared in our voices… the first few paragraphs were warm yet tinted.

Experience can be a brutal teacher. Whom do you trust with your vulnerabilities? Your voice resonated with ambivalence…. a friendship and an intimacy seeking a renewal. We were too ready to respond… what did we want to hear?

I was with your soul, but the concrete like jungle with weeds sprouting between us created a dissonance blocking each other’s inner sight. The conversation ended without ceremony…. like two people in two separate theaters engaged in different roles on dissimilar stages… both wanted to touch each other… the perceived scenery diffused the light.

A month later in the middle of the night I had a dream. Disquieting. Disarming. Spiritual. It had no ending. Just beads of sweat emerged on my naked body. My eyes opened and starred at a ceiling fan slowly turning like a silent merry-go-round.

The next morning, I got in my car and drove to the coast, standing on the beach overlooking the ocean where I am now, watching a lone seagull skim the surface searching for a meal.

I gaze at the blue green waves lapping the sand pebbles and then glance at the deserted shoreline to the north and to the south. I am alone.

In the very end I am singular, except perhaps in the thoughts that emanate from my mind. Is there a gateway after this body returns to dust and the voice no longer beseeches the why of the night?

There is a lingering advocacy for the misunderstood, whisperings to that paleolithic Eyeh Asher Eyeh… and still, I rule only myself.  There is more darkness in the observable universe of two trillion plus galaxies than there is light. The universe overwhelms the simplistic word… mystery.

I feel the grainy textured earth beneath my bare feet and looking over the waters I nod – if there is but one single light… there is a breath, a pulse, a glimmer of the possible. A caring memory even within the brutal effects of existence, is still a memory to cherish.