On The Sea

            "On The Sea" by Chris Buckley

            I’d like to think this happily ever after started, but somehow I’m still waiting for it to begin.
            I stand out in the chill on a spring break looking out at a lake and wondering.
            What to do and where to go and what to choose.
            The wind blows and I feel the chill. I guess the cold can follow you anywhere. Even all the way up from North Carolina.
            I turn up my iPod and I stare while I listen to the song. It makes me think of Kelsey. I miss her. A lot of my time is spent thinking of her and missing her. Even sometimes when she’s there right in front of me.
            I wish I could be next to her. I could have been, of course. She invited me and I could have gone with her family on their spring break vacation down to South Carolina but . . . Yeah, no thanks.
            Anything that has Carolina in its sentence—no thanks.
            Maybe I’ll always be afraid. Maybe.
            But maybe it’s something else.
            The voices.
            The visions.
            All that stuff you thought you left behind.
            Uh huh.
            I breathe in and sigh. I wish I could take a sailboat out to this great blue sea. But there’s no wind and it’s a lake, not a sea.
            Anything to escape.
            Anything to be free.
            I believe God chose me and even blessed me with this ability. I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do with it. I honestly don’t know how I’m supposed to live with it.
            The wind brings goosebumps.
            I think of the classes I don’t care about. I think about the junior college I’m barely getting by at. I think of Kelsey and her sweet, wonderful life. I think of where I belong inside it.
            I turn up the music louder.
            God, do you see my thoughts right now? ‘Cause if you do, will show me what you want me to do? What I need to do?
            I see a couple walk by so happy and so adult and so in love. So perfect. So carefree. They need to be in a perfume commercial.
            When will I ever be able to let go of the past and when will my new story begin?
            I turn up the music a little louder.
            These sweet melodies block out the doubt. They block out the noise. They block out all those awful thoughts in the black of night.
            I stare to the place in the lake which doesn’t continue onward. My first year of college is almost gone. I almost thought I could forget. I almost thought I could be busy enough to do so. I thought---well, I’ve always thought way too much.
            Standing here like some solitary statue, I know I’m on some strange hiatus. The bad stuff—the strange sightings and the awful sounds—still haunt me in the pit of the night. I still experience awful things.
            And every now and then—like right about now—I think about silencing those voices the way my mom used to.
            It would be easier.
            A lot easier.
            When will the next saga begin and what will I be needed to do?
            Will I be forced to publicly acknowledge my faith only to have one big, fat fail?
            Let it go, Chris.
            Will I try to be the hero and end up halfway running away?
            Let it be, buddy.
            I turn up the music louder and let it drown out these thoughts. I still have them. They haven’t gone away, even though I’m miles away from Solitary, North Carolina.
            I’m miles away, yet the shadows follow me every single step I take.
            I’m miles away, but all I have to do is close my eyes and I’m back there. Back where I found myself and my soul but seemed to lose so much in return.
            God help me.
            I’m still taking baby steps. And as I do, I try—I really try—to get rid of those other thoughts and ideas. The ones that tell me to deal with this some other way.
            I can’t.
            I won’t.
            I close my eyes and think of Kelsey. I wish I could see her and kiss her and simply live my happily ever after with her. But we’re not there, not yet. We’re not even adults. We’re just starting to enter this thing called college.
            I still love that sweet blonde beauty.
            Her sweet disposition and her sweet everything makes the darkness go away. Well, almost.
            This music reminds me and always will. The first time I saw her in art class and thought who in the world is this girl. She stayed by my side and she kept persisting and kept trying. She never gave up.
            Just like God above.
            I have some pretty amazing people on my side.
            I start to walk back to my buddy’s apartment. I’ve made my decision. I don’t need to drown my sorrows simply to drown out the voices.
            They are there for a reason. I can deal with them.
            I can manage.
            I’ll figure out how to keep managing.
            And I’ll figure out how to keep getting closer to that happily ever after. That sweet little hut on the edge of the sea. Just Kelsey and me. Just the two of us. Laughing. Happy.
            Yeah. That would be a fun story to live. A nice story to tell.
            But something tells me that’s somebody else’s story and always will be.

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