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This is how I die?

A slab of light-blue travels across my vision and brings up a memory of the ocean.

The first and last beach we swam in. We’d visited it twice, our first and our last days. Went to others in between, stood upon sand undisturbed by such turbulent waves, perfectly calm waters that stretched on and on.

The first beach was violent and loud and alive. I played in its waves, played a secondary game, managed to keep the prescription shades on my head as waves, tall as me, slammed me into the sand.

The beach has any number of kitesurfers taking off not long after sunrise, a non-stop army of surfers, riding boards with the help of the wind, an inflated sail, and string. That day the air was angry, the waves punched and kicked at us demented invaders. I ran into the waves, let them throw me around, shoved off the sandy beach and into a loose piece of cable anchored into the ground.

Went back to the beach and read a while, let the sun bake me. “Cryptonomicon” was approaching its end, just a handful of chapters remained. Watched the sails climb into the sky, while the sun pumped raw energy into my burned legs.

A local boy came around with a souvenir towel. It had the map of St Martin on it. Exactly what I wanted to pick up, and presented to me on the very last day, the very last time we dipped ourselves in the blue waters. The boy moved his hands and the towel became a backpack, twin strips of map-textured towel formed the shoulder-straps. It was ten bucks.

I left the backpack underneath a different towel and fought into the waves for the last time. The ocean tried to throw me back. I fought for a while, then planted my feet in the shallows and evoked The General. I stared back toward the sea, out, away from the beach, into the realm of jetskis and kitesurfers.

“I shall return.” It fit.

I thought back on the beach, the powerful waves that weighed more than the car in front of me, but moving faster, with more purpose.

The license plate with MEEEOW on it finally stopped stopping, the shining amber lights turned dim again and I knew that there was plenty of time to stop, I wouldn’t be the first of a long series of crashed cars.

The Subaru kept moving and I didn’t have to stand on my brake pedal. It was a good day. Damn but I miss St Martin.

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