Distance, we have a simple understanding of the greatness or the limited vastness. We can at one moment feel as this world is big enough for everyone and at a different time, space feels limited and tight, as if a hand gripped against the windpipe, it is suffocating. It’s an odd sensation that this is how it feels as we inch closer and closer to the enviable end, suffocating. If you could know the day your story ends, would you want to know?
I can smell the surf come in then out, it washes on myself with its salt. Or maybe for the lack of a better word, it doesn’t. I take a deep breath. I could say what year it is but I would hate to give up the ghost too quickly, but it’s not enough to me, but would probably be reasonable to anyone else. He sits there, drinking away, the sand finds its way into the places it doesn’t belong. The ocean in a constant motion, an almost forgiving rhythm. As if in to say sorry and hello at the same time. In inches then feet the water closes in to give him an everlasting hug. The sand and the salt, it washes in and over his feet. When with some half-hearted effort he stands. I duck behind an embankment to hide myself from myself. But with all possibility he knows I am here, that I am watching.
The moon breaks its hold from the clouds and begins to shine, giving a luminance that the night required, that he deserved. He drifts back and forth as he makes his way up the shore. Like a wounded animal he is alone in search of a quiet spot to unwind, to die. The cliff face begins to rise and the shore begins to sink. Sand becomes stone, but the salt, the wet, on everything, remains. His pace is staggered and almost bewildering. With a hushing sound the breeze is gone, leaving a harmony of near silence. The smooth stones roll under his bare feet as he continues his march out. At one final moment he stops, so I stop. Unsure on why he chose here, to sit, to die, I watch. He tips the glass bottle one last time then struggles to put the cap back on. Achieving the small task he brings the bottle to eye level. He pauses and stares for maybe a brief moment of clairvoyant realization of too many past drinks, or maybe not enough. He tries to throw the bottle into the sea, but it breaks on the rocks a few feet in front of him. The breeze returns and it carries the thick smell of salt. He lies down on the layered rocks and closes his eyes, I sit and wait.
About 15 minutes passes when I notice that his chest was no longer raising and lowering. I slowly and carefully walk to his location. The round stones roll under my feet like they did his. Some more time passes before I can work up the nerve to move next him. I try making some racket with a rock, but his frame does not stir. Close enough now, to see the slight grin on his face, my face, but older. I nudge him and there is no life, it is done, it is gone.
I wait around for a little while, not really sure what to do. Do I report this and to whom? I can’t just leave him here? How would I explain this? All those thoughts go through my head while my device dances around in my hand. Taking one last deep breath of the salty air, I head home.