I’m Too Old For This, Part 1

1 Mar

I was walking on the beach with a sinking feeling in my chest. The college was up ahead, a single level building surrounded by windows. It was beautiful, but I didn’t want to be in school again.

Forty is not too old to start a new life. But too old to be in school with twenty-somethings.

The sky, thirty seconds of clear blue and then darkness, like a dimmer switch turned down in a single motion. I saw the wave rise. The entire ocean lifted into the sky. Not this again, I said to myself. I closed my eyes and crouched down. This was not my first tidal wave. The twenty-somethings spilled out of the college to get a better look. No one was screaming. No one was panicked. Except for me.

I’m just going to pretend it’s not happening, I said to a random girl nearby.

You have to learn to float on your back and breathe, she said.

You can’t just ignore this or you’ll die, another girl said.

If I die, I die. I can’t be afraid anymore, I said.

The water folded over us in a blanket of navy blue. It’s not real it’s not real, I repeated to myself. I closed my eyes again, opened them again, watched people float through the wave like it was a pool party. I couldn’t breathe and everyone else was smiling.

When the sheet of wave finally calmed, I was alone. I looked to the east. The sky was strands of hot pink like an urban sunset. A moment of peace. Light began to resurface. Then, that feeling again. I looked at the ocean. The start of a wave pulled back and lifted up. Again, the sky grew dark.

I hate the ocean, I said to no one.

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