26 August 2012


Last weekend I took a quick evening ride to Ocean City, NJ. There was just enough time to grab a slice at Manco's Pizza and a black and white cone with colorful jimmies at Kohr Brothers - both requirements when visiting in my opinion.

Despite being the middle of August, the sea breeze was cool as it cascaded my face. Gone were the New Jersey heat and humidity that have held me hostage to enclosed, air-conditioned rooms most of the summer. No, this was a perfect evening. An evening that would be carved in a small room in my mind forever.

I sat on a bench and my mind traveled through time. Random thoughts of trips to the shore came to me; all fighting to be first and foremost.

I could picture buying rabbit foot key chains and eating dinners at Abe's Seafood House in Atlantic City with my parents. Admiring the cool older girls wearing cut-off t-shirts that read "Wildwood '84". So many memories.

And then I remembered the last time I had ever touched the ocean water. (For as much as I love the shore, I never go in the water. I prefer pools with tons of chlorine!)

It was 20 summers ago to be exact. (You can read about that summer here and here.)

It seemed the right time.

I walked gingerly down the sand-packed steps, took off my shoes and felt the thick sand beneath my feet. The tide was quite high and I only had to walk a few yards before the first, thin trickle of water touched me. I shivered and kept walking toward the waves.

Small swells hit my ankles, calves, knees.

I closed my eyes and felt as though I was being taken into the sea every time the waves retreated.

I remembered who I was in the summer of 1992. Who I loved. Who I was in love with. I tried to recall what I thought my life would hold in the following 20 years. Surely I would have found someone to love me forever...to have a family with. But life didn't work out that way. As everyone else moved on, portions of my life stood still.

I have a lovely life - I do. I have amazing friends and I adore my mother, brother, sister-in-law and niece. I have a good job and a good education. But I look at the blessings I've been denied and grow more and more lonesome. I am never going to know the joy of having a child. The odds of getting married grow slimmer every year. No one is ever happy to see me come home at the end of the day because there's no one there.

I finally opened my eyes. I was shin-deep in the water and suddenly tired. I trudged back to the boardwalk. The sand stuck to my wet feet.

I decided I wasn't going to wait another 20 years to feel the cool ocean water splash against my skin. It was time to let go, embrace new experiences and begin another 20-year-chapter of memories.

Who knows what could happen, right?

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