A Beam of Light

Shuffling a step that matched each rush of the waves as they reached out to him in curls. The moon stretching his shadow began to drown his Fedora, then another step and his head was consumed by a light foam. He continued on as his shoulders washed out to sea. He looked up at a billion tiny lights, inhaling slowly with a deep rattle, and wondered why the ocean was foaming at the mouth while the stars only blinked. He gazed back down and watched the sand absorbing his bare boney feet. Mesmerized by his right big toe fighting to stay above the sand, holding on for one last second before it disappeared from sight. His cough took over, continuing on until he was hunched over. He leaned on his knees catching his breath for just a second or two, before it shook his soul once more and he sank to his knees. The cold ocean water swirled around his legs, numbing them almost instantly. It reminded him of a day almost a century past when he was lost in the woods only a mile from his home. Scared and wandering in circles, he had lost feeling in his feet and hands. And just like now, he had fallen to his knees. His last memory then was watching his tears poking holes in the foot high snow while the cold moon watched. But on that day, within seconds his father had burst into view, blinding him with the light from a flashlight beam before scooping him up and running non-stop until he reached home. He hoped it would be the same today; that he would once again see his father, maybe clothed in shining light as he greeted him once again. His mother next to him, wiping the flour from her chin with her apron. Maybe even his son would come riding up on his bicycle, horn honking and pink cheeked. He watched his fingers sinking into the sand, his wedding band catching the light of the moon in a tiny flicker of light. He hoped with all his heart that MaryAnn would understand. He couldn’t go back. Not to that lime green room that stunk of disinfectant and stiff bleached sheets. He hoped she would forgive him this one last time for walking away: from her, from the room, from the slow painful hell he couldn’t endure, not one more minute. He took a deep breath, inhaling the scent of evening, and smiled knowing she would see the letter in the morning. He crawled forward until the waves surrounded him’; his Fedora finally adrift and free.   

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