Epiphany

At Westcliff beach, where the curve of the shoreline shrugs in on itself. A little cove lingers there. In the middle of the sand an isolate rock formation rises like a man’s head with a stout Pinocchio nose and a green tuft of hair where birds nest. Dogs on the beach chase loaming waves, hopping over each other and dancing in the skim. People speckle the promenade, joggers with earphones and stern intentions. Mothers push strollers with wide shade panels for prone babies. Life is so fragile. Children run with the dogs on the beach and chase the waves, the peals of laughter and barks echoing up from below. An elderly couple sits on a bench watching sailboats and whitecaps in the bay. The smell of seaweed rots in the sun. In the distance, Monterey slides like a cool green finger across the horizon.

The wind picks up and funnels away the thick seaweed odor and I smell the ocean, cold and clean. It smells of life—fragile, beautiful and rare. A bird flutters gleefully in my chest. I see the children and the mothers and the elderly couple and the dogs, and for a moment we are all fluttering together. There is oneness here. It is the soul—singular—our soul, fluttering within me.  The knowledge overtakes me that death is an illusion. The sun is clear and the sky is pale blue and endless. The universe is pale blue and endless. Life is pale blue and endless, and everything belongs. Even the hot cement and the loud cars and the gaudy beach mansions belong. Even I belong. The ocean consumes the cliff in its slow, methodical way. The cars and the mansions and the hot cement will someday be devoured by the sea, and in this moment everything is perfect.

I’d been reading Walt Whitman and smoking lots of pot. I mean lots of pot. I mean the curled-up-in-the-fetal-position-in-the-dark-of-my-room-listening-to-Abbey-Road-and-reminding-myself-to-breathe-in-and-out-with-my-heartbeat-crunching-in-my-ear-like-a-man-walking-through-heavy-snowfall-and-every-step-may-well-be-his-last-for-all-I-know kind of smoking lots of pot. I was into Eastern philosophy in the half assed way that stoners have, like: “trip out man…everything is nothing and nothing is everything…whoa…”

I wanted desperately to believe that I wasn’t alone in the universe.

On my way back from the beach I stopped by the house of the girl I’d been dating. Over the summer we’d each gone home and returned with new haircuts that had drastically reduced our respective attractiveness to each other. We realized that our relationship was founded on a shaky fault-line of vague physicality.  There was no real connection, though we had spent plenty of time pretending there was. Shorn and embarrassed, we’d been avoiding each other.

We sat on her back porch where the birds sang and the wind chimes tinkled in the offshore breeze, and we drank iced tea from old plastic souvenir cups. The breaking up was easy and we were both relieved.

Her name was Verita, which means truth.

Copyright © 2009, Kevin Hobson

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2 Responses to “Epiphany”

  1. well, i am fulfilling my commenting promise and here it is.

    “The smell of seaweed rots in the sun.” I love how this rubs up against the other descriptions that come before it. it works to make the first paragraph feel like a more complete sensational experience.

  2. I LOVE your rambling, descriptive style. I can’t expound on your writing style with any semblance of literary expertise, but I really enjoyed reading the passage!

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