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Moonlit Trance

A wild breeze blows against my frail form, whipping my hair around my face. I brace myself against the force of each humid gust as I walk in a universe that has been converted to grayscale. The moon, nearly full, gleams like a fluorescent lightbulb at the zenith of the cloudless, jet black sky. A field of pale gray sand stretches out before me, and suddenly, a sound that has been continually battering at my eardrums penetrates the noise of my frustrated thoughts. It is the thunderous roar of waves breaking on the moonlit beach.

I am walking along the edge of where the foaming water comes up on the shore. I watch the ground, and my eyes fall absentmindedly upon my slight shadow, cast by the moon directly above my head. With each hurried step, my toes sink into the silky sand, which crinkles and depresses under my feet as if I were walking on fresh snow. I tread on scattered fragments of seashells, but ignore them as I hasten along, away from home, away from all the anger and brokenness.

A gale of wind blasts into my face, piercing my sensitive skin with icy daggers, and my numb nose is accosted by its salty scent. The trails of tears left on my cheeks are frozen into tiny crystals. I wrap my hoodie more tightly around my torso and stop for a moment to reorient myself. Standing and facing the ocean, I watch the waves rushing towards me. I see nothing of the waves in the dark gray sea until their crests curl over, creating an effervescent froth that is illuminated by the moon. Gazing further, I see a star millions of light years away but appearing to be a point of light just inches above the horizon. It flickers blue and red and green behind the atmosphere, creating the only color in my field of vision.

As the water level slowly increases with the tide, I do not move; I stand still and feel the water striking my skin, bubbling around my feet, and then receding against my ankles. Sand is pulled out from under my feet, which are soon buried under a thin layer of the grainy substance. I inhale deeply and the air nips at my lungs. Desensitized to the cold of the water and the air after being enveloped by it for so long, I fall into a numb state. It’s nice being numb, unable to feel the ice and the pain, and anesthetized to the hurt that is deeper than my skin. I think I’ll just stay here for a while. The waves continue to roll in, paralyzing me with their rhythmic flow.

A pang of pain runs up the nerves from my toes to my brain, and I leap away from the water reflexively. My feet are freezing and my heart pounds as I quickly breathe the cool air. I feel dampness on my lower legs and see that the water has soaked a few inches up my jeans. My eyes come to rest on my shadow, which is no longer right below me but stretches slightly to my left. I become aware that my perception of the passage of time has been erroneous; the minutes have been slipping away unheeded. I blink away a few fresh tears, and they run their shaky course down my cheeks. With a deep breath, I turn away from the water and head in the direction from which I came. As much as I don’t want to, I continue to place one unfeeling foot after the other upon the sand. I suppose it’s time I got back.

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