Everyone carries something heavy and burdensome with them. Not necessarily physically, but there’s something about carrying something around so mentally draining and heartbreakingly sad that it takes a toll on you physically.
“I remember someone I know…knew, wrote a poem about the ocean. It was beautiful, I loved it. Every time I visited the ocean after reading that poem I always thought of it.” The mid-teens, long haired, slightly awkward girl kicked at the sidewalk as she leaned forward slightly, sitting on her hands as her eyes fixated on the pavement. There wasn't any particular difference in her appearance that day but I'm pretty sure her hair and eyes have become duller and sadder. I went through a quick mental deduction of what could be wrong. Boy problems? Home issues? Parents, siblings? She had just moved into town, maybe she was homesick. It couldn't be any of her friends else I would know, I theorized. But then what do I know? But there was something about the way that she stumbled over the past and present tense of know and knew that made me think that her burden that day was the author of the poem. What had happened, I wondered, but when I asked she declined in-depth reply. “I don’t want to talk about that today,” she had said as she sat back and drew her knees up under her chin.
“That’s fine. We can talk about whatever you feel like talking about today.” Keeping my voice light and friendly was effortless, as it should be. I see it as my job to be clam and approachable so people like her could feel safe and secure about talking to me.
“Feel.” I hear her mutter with sarcasm under her breath.
“Yes?” I say, pretending not to properly hear.
“The ocean.” She wrapped her arms around her legs and hugged them closer to her, as if to protect herself. “I miss the ocean.”
I nodded my head slightly. “The ocean is a beautiful place.” She was staring off into nowhere.
That was when I saw it. In the question of person, place or thing, it was not a person as I had originally guessed, but a place. From twelve hundred miles away the place she called home is calling her name, but the most heartbreaking thing for her is that it’s a call she can’t answer.