Half the world touches you.
Waves roll ashore in the rhythmic motion of a horse finding home from muscle memory, stretching all the way from beyond the horizon, to reach you and your friend. Let go, the waves seem to coax, let go. Behind you, your mothers sit chatting away, the beach empty but for you. A sprig of sweetbrier marks the otherwise pristine, mauve sand. The sky twitches with imminent rain. How you wanted to be swept away. How the thought tingled under your eyelids: I understand you. Which is to say: I understand this world is so very big, I understand in this unfathomable immensity I forget all but myself. A thought you’re too young to articulate.
An empty beach gives you this illusion of a blackout, leaving you attuned only to yourself and your senses. Like a path to happiness mapped out in retrospect, this blackout allows you some conclusive impression of an individual experience, without deriving its meaning from a particular event or person. At the touch of half the world an experience is likewise simplified. When simplified, almost anything feels, with some ready complicity, lovable. Even those who leave you demolished or unspooling. Even your difficult friend.
The fluctuating half of the world, from the rivulets in deep corners of the globe to the droplets you’d dry off that later cloud overhead—that incalculable sum of the water wasted and reborn—has pushed across the entirety of its storm-brewing width, to engulf you with this uncharacteristic tenderness.
Of course, you surrender yourself. Of course, you forget all else.
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