What a pity. They’re both so beautiful together, but infamously volatile.
One of my fondest childhood memories of the two of them was when I was a young child, barely able to walk and form complete sentences. What I could do (almost expertly) was quickly waves my two legs back and forth, back and forth, as fast as my little muscles would allow, and Mama would dip them in the cool waves, toes first, until the water was up to my shins.
“Mama, good!” I would say, indicating that shin-deep was the farthest I would allow the water to reach on my small body.
After paddling around for less than five minutes, which was all I could handle in the waves, Mama would carry me to the shore, place me down on the soft grains gently, and help me squish my hands in the compact surface.
I could spend hours making imprints of my tiny hands in the white sands, every so often hollering to ask Mama to dip my legs in the water once again.
Back then, my biggest fears of the sand and sea were accidentally tasting the salty waters and the occasional grain of sand flying into my eye. I would always vigorously rub my eyes to get the miniscule grain out, only making the burning sensation worse.
“Baby, no…noooo,” Mama would say, kneeling down in the sand next to me to rescue me from my temporary pain.
Years ago, I moved to the city to experience life in the corporate world. I now quickly move around, catching meetings, calling out orders, and I constantly run as if I’m in a marathon in my four-inch heels. My family, on the other hand, who decided to stay here, wears no shoes during the day don’t see the need for stress caused by business affairs. Here, everyone is kind and genuine, and you don’t have to worry that people will take advantage of you. That’s our small-town way of a career.
In my early twenties, I couldn’t stop wondering why my parents didn’t want to leave and experience a busier life. One that’s exhilarating and fast-paced. Plus, the hurricanes and dangerous storms always swept through, constantly threatening our safety.
Now, on a quick trip back home to visit my family as I do only a few times a year, my thoughts have changed. I stand one leg in the swirling waters, lifting the other leg to dip it in the water, toes first. I could do this all day if only my legs wouldn’t get so tired. The sand indicates to me that even when I grow tired in the water, it is there to provide me with rest; I can sit in its soft surface, squishing my hands and feet into the miniscule grains. Maybe I’ll holler to Mama to come out from the kitchen and join me in the sand. Shouldn’t there always be a break for that?
I understand why my family couldn’t leave. This is home, after all.