Bygones of The Sea

The sea always called my name, or at least that’s what I would like to believe. Since an early age, I’ve been fascinated with that giant body of water, which felt so close but also so far. I fell in love with the waves; their sounds, the sea life, and the effect it had on me. But, most of all, I was intrigued by what I didn’t know of the sea, what I couldn’t describe, what I knew was there and couldn’t even imagine. It is this love that brought me to meet him, and even though I never knew his name, I’ll always remember him.

I met him on one of my trips, those long gone trips I used to take to be in solitude with the ocean. I was staying in a little house and every night I walked along the beach just listening to the sea. Then, I saw him. I remember, as I approached him I didn’t feel as if a human was coming towards me and the scent of the sea became stronger. He was coming my way, in the same sand I was walking on, but he didn’t seem to be walking, instead he moved as if floating.

It was only when this obscure being reached me that he looked up and gave me the kindest smile I had seen. He never introduced himself, and I felt as if I had known him for a long time. He was the nicest person I’ve ever met, and his lessons about the ocean stay with me forever. He taught me to appreciate the sea life, and to understand we never really own anything that comes from the ocean, but instead we become part of their life once they decide to leave the water. I learned from him about coral, about clams and shells, about sea fans, and everything else I wanted to know.

He talked about it all as if he was talking about his family, about his loved ones; the ocean was in some ways his home too. He shared his wisdom with me, he said, because he recognized my passion for the ocean. When the time came for me to leave, he finally did what I had wanted him to do for all that time; he invited me into his home. The place was a sanctuary, full of all the sea life I had admired most and much more. Going from room to room, seeing his collection of ocean pieces, I also felt as if I wasn’t walking anymore, but floating in that little ocean he had created.

And now, seeing my own collection of sea life, I understand what he meant when he said we never own these pieces, and I feel gratitude for the sea life to have chosen me to be part of their lives. And I think of him, and I know I’m closer to one day go back to the ocean, where we all come from.

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