the moon also rises  

sparkee58 59M
606 posts
8/17/2006 2:31 am

Last Read:
8/30/2006 12:07 pm

the moon also rises

I was at Wrightsville Beach with Nikki and Sunny one summer day about fifteen years ago. Sunny, my son, was five. We were at the less developed north end of the island and there were only a few sheets spread out with people enjoying the cool water and the hot sun. Surfers were bouncing on top of the slight swells like acrobats. A couple holding hands walked along the shore, their feet tickled by the white foam.
We unfolded the beach chairs and Nikki sat with her Cosmo and wine. There was an open bottle on ice in the big cooler. Sunny ran to the edge of the water where he sat down and laughed, laughed, laughed as the waves washed over his bare legs. A line of pelicans flew overhead and I looked up at them as they crossed the bright sun. It was cloudless, the sky was "unbelievably blue" as Springsteen would write many years later about 9-11.
I sat beside Nikki and started reading, "The Sun Also Rises." I had been reading Hemingway all year. I put the novel down, opened the cooler and retrieved the icy bottle of red wine. I poured some into a plastic cup and then Nikki held her cup out and I poured for her. Her eyes never left the magazine. I watched as she undid a glued on strip and held it to her face. Her small nose wrinkled at the scent and then she smiled. Her mouth had delicious soft thick lips.
"You better watch Sunny," she said.
She looked over the top of her dark sunglasses toward where he was walking down the white sanded beach collecting shells.
"I see him."
"Don't let him get too far."
"I've got it under control, Nikki."
"I'm just saying..."
"He's fine."
Sunny ran back to us and clumsily opened the cooler to get a coke.
"Hey! You're getting sand on the ice," said Nikki.
Sunny ignored her.
"He's getting sand..."
"I got it."
I got his Coke and he ran took it and a small red bucket with a yellow scoop and ran back to the water's edge where he sat. He opened the drink and pushed it into the sand as he dug a hole.
I looked out at him and drank my wine. The book was bookmarked lying on the sand.
Nikki put the magazine down and started to say something, but then she suddenly stopped. That was unlike her, she hardly ever hesitated about anything.
"We need to talk," she said.
"You know we said we wouldn't have other people sleep over? Well, I've changed my mind."
I was struck silent. Though we had taken separate bedrooms in the apartment I had always hoped for a reconciliation. I now saw it going out with the tide.
"What do you mean?"
"Brandon is coming over tonight. He's going to spend the night."
I nodded my head and remained silent, I didn't trust my voice. It felt like a heavy weight had landed on my shoulder and just sat there. I looked at Sunny. He laughed and waved. A big pile of dark sand was by his feet.
I got up and walked to the water and past Sunny. He stopped digging and watched as I waded out to my waist.
The cool water calmed me. I felt it tug and swirl around my legs. The sun was hot on my brown shoulders and the top of my head. I stooped down and put my head underwater. I walked a little further, out to my chest and turned to swim back. A swell came from behind and I jumped up to meet it. When I came back down the water was to my neck. Another swell came and the water was over my head and as I tried to swim toward shore the riptide carried me farther out.
I was never a very good swimmer and I started to panic. I went under with my eyes open and I could see the sandy bottom and the swirling white water around me like an encompassing whirlpool. I held my breath and when I got back on top I saw Sunny standing on the beach, faraway as the moon, looking out at me. I saw as he ran to Nikki and grabbed her. Then the water took me again and I tried not to breath it in.
Random thoughts rushed through my brain. Sunny seeing his father drowned, becoming an orphan at such an early age. Nikki crying and then wiping the tears away, happy at getting her cursed freedom. I concentrated and tried to swim back but the current was taking out farther and farther. I really started to panic and splash around.
I had visions of my mother, crying inconsolaby and I remembered my sister and our talks the last time I visited and her commitment to the church and how I would miss her. The last time we were together she had tried to get me to go with her. I had declined.
"You should at least pray," she had said.
I did. I prayed hard as I went under and fought to get back to the surface. I clawed at it like being buried alive. My stomach was full of it, my nose and eyes burning from the salt.
Suddenly a calmness came over me.
Sunny was an excellent swimmer. We had been at a motel pool a few months ago and he had taught me the dead man's float. I remembered. I lay on my back and just relaxed. I could float to England like this, I thought. I raised an arm up and waved it. Soon a surfer paddled over from faraway and I gripped his board so hard the indentations are probably still there. He took me to the beach.
I sat down on the chair exhausted. Sunny was overexcited and I calmed him. Nikki looked more embarrassed than anything.
We soon packed up and left.

rm_ladylookin06 67F

8/17/2006 3:27 am

hummmmm ......... I am glad you made it Sparkee. But I am puzzled as to why anyone would be embarrassed you didn't drown? I would have been all over your bones and not embarrassed.

sparkee58 replies on 8/17/2006 3:39 am:
Nikki was always onstage.
I had evidently dropped the curtain prematurely on her day at the beach.
I'm sure she felt relief, but at that time, a dark cloud always seemed to hang over us.

__Huntress__ 56M/59F

8/17/2006 3:38 am

There are times when you read something on here and are so touched by the content that you're left staring at the screen, unable to find the right words to express the swirl of emotions the reading has left you with ...

This is one of those times ...


sparkee58 replies on 8/17/2006 3:49 am:
thank you.
this was one of the most profound moments of my life.

Nina_Dee 62F

8/17/2006 5:40 am

Was Nikki always like that? Huntress has expresed so eloquently what I am feeling right now. Thanks Sparkee for a great read.

sparkee58 replies on 8/17/2006 6:43 am:
she could be pretty cold
i'm glad you enjoyed it.

southrnpeach333 51F

8/17/2006 7:04 am

i recently re-read a moveable feast and men without women... have thought about making my way back through his other stuff.

this read was well worth my time.

sparkee58 replies on 8/17/2006 7:37 am:
thanks for reading it
The Sun Also Rises, his first novel, will always be my favorite

rm_1hotwahine 64F
21091 posts
8/17/2006 9:17 am

I envy your ability to tell a complete story this well in 1000 words. I want to learn how to do that.

Yeah, I'm still [blog 1hotwahine]

sparkee58 replies on 8/17/2006 9:53 am:
Strunk's "The Elements of Style"

rm_goddess1946 107F
13518 posts
8/17/2006 11:38 am

my heart opened and hurt several times when i was reading this...i felt like i was right there with you and i also know the healing power of remembering and writing.... thanks for sharing this day with us here, sparkee {=}

Just a little food for thought.............
If you really want to be happy, nobody can stop you...

sparkee58 replies on 8/17/2006 2:01 pm:
you're quite welcome
that's what writing is all about, isn't it?

FrankPicasso 53M

8/17/2006 10:21 pm

It's amazing, the things we learn from our kids. And when we stop flailing, we find serenity and freedom. We rediscover our lives.

Well done.

sparkee58 replies on 8/18/2006 1:52 am:
exactly, frank
it was the calmness brought forth by the prayer

wickedeasy 68F  
31113 posts
8/18/2006 6:50 am

at certain moments - someone, something holds us, lifts us and carries us back to home

i wish i could articulate how this impacted me - i will instead say thank you


You cannot conceive the many without the one.

sparkee58 replies on 8/18/2006 9:42 am:
you are welcome
thank you for reading it

amoldenough 71F
16436 posts
8/28/2006 11:02 am

Thankyou for sharing this experience with us. Glad you made it back.

"Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened."

sparkee58 replies on 8/30/2006 12:09 pm:
me too

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