Jewel Beth Davis
and Ana Goncalves

Ana Goncalves
Inspiration piece

The Day the Ocean Cried Tears
By Jewel Beth Davis

Ceely Foster sat by the ocean looking out at the sea as if it was all that mattered. She was trying not to think because if she did, the pain would come rushing back. She would have to open her mouth and cry out. She could not contain it. And there would be tears. Many of them. There already had been. She pressed her hand into the sand, hoping the particles digging in would stop her from giving in to her feelings. She stood up and brushed the grit from her hands and her backside and began to walk the beach back to where she’d parked her car. The sand was difficult to walk in and seemed to be shifting with every step.
So much had happened in the last few weeks, none of them good.

She could see her sweet dog Jodie lying on the vet table, blind and trusting, as the vet injected her with what would send her to her final sleep. Jodie, kind and loving, always game for everything, had been with her most of her adult life. The little soft-muzzled mutt had been such a comfort throughout the years and all the men moving in and out of her life. She could always count on Jodie. No more. At eighteen, Jodie had just literally worn out. Ceely had known it for some time but she hadn’t been ready to face it until the little dog had lost her sense of smell and had pretty much stopped eating. Ceely felt her chest tighten and squeeze as it had every time Jodie came to her mind, and lately, that had been most of the time.

Then she’d recently auditioned for a part in a Shakespeare play. She’d felt very confident in her readings when she left the theatre. She’d had that feeling that all actors have when they’ve hit it spot on but yesterday she received an email that said, “So many excellent people had auditioned, yada yada, yada… would not be able to use her in the play.” She was stunned. It was the very last thing she’d expected. She had counted on getting in. She needed the group support right now. She felt lost.

Finally, Simon had walked away. Simon whom she’d believed in, Simon who said he’d be there for her, Simon whom she depended on for comfort in the hard times and company in the good. He found someone else and left her. Just like that. No explanation. It just happened, he said. She could hardly bear to think about his face at the moment he walked out, but her mind didn’t care about what she could or could not bear. It just went right on thinking about every painful thing it could, for no good reason she could see.

All the parts of her life that she had relied on had faded and disappeared. She had no floor to stand on anymore, just floating out in the ether unattached.

She lived in Melrose now but had driven to the beach in her hometown, Quincy. In many ways, it was like coming home, even though her family had all moved away from here. She walked towards Pirate’s Cove where she’d parked her old Honda. She remembered watching her friends sail boats in the Cove. She remembered being in the woods next to the Cove and doing things she was far too young to be doing. Somehow she’d escaped without getting into too much trouble. Earlier, she’d attended Camp Fire Girls’ Camp in those woods not far from her home. The smell of pine, soft and sweet under her bare feet, came to her so strongly, as if she were standing in those woods right now.

Ceely felt like she had nothing to look forward to now, hopeless. If she wasn’t so afraid of what came after death, she thought she might have considered suicide. The ocean could sweep her away into its depths and then, blessed sleep. But no, that was not how she wanted to be remembered.

She reached into her bag and took out a hand mirror. She examined her face for traces of blotchiness. The salty crispness of the air had reddened her cheeks. To release some of the pain threatening to pour out, she opened her mouth. With her Hollywood red lipstick, it formed the shape of a heart. A moan escaped. She shook her head and put the mirror away. She wasn’t making sense.

She sat down on a bench and watched the sailboats skim along the cove, jibing and coming about from shore to shore. The wind was stiff. She closed her eyes.

A bird’s eye vision of Jodie came into her mind. Her dog was shiny and healthy again. She barked and it sounded like laughter. Ceely opened her eyes and then closed them again. Jodie was still there, waving a paw as if to touch her arm as she often had. She felt the dog’s presence so strongly as if her old friend were next to her and also enveloping her in warmth.

What the heck? Was she becoming psychic or a medium? She hoped not.

In her mind, Jodie’s message came through to her as clearly as if she
were speaking English.

I’m with you, Ceely, but you’ll only be able to see me fleetingly. Out of the corner of your eye. Not directly. No matter who comes and who goes in your life, I’m always here. Just around the corner.

This is crazy, Ceely thought. Dogs don’t talk. Well, Jodie wasn’t really speaking. The message filtered directly into her mind, bypassing words.

You can’t see into the future and neither can I, but today is just one day in your life and the last two weeks are just a fortnight. A teardrop in the ocean. It all moves, passes, and then connects up again. It’s a continuum, and you won’t always feel the way you do now. So live each day for what it offers and appreciate it all.

The image of Jodie faded away and in its place, Ceely felt a deep serenity and of being loved in the purest way possible. That was all. It would have to do for now. Ceely breathed the sea air deeply into her lungs. She opened her eyes. The sun had gone down to sit on the horizon and the wind had gentled. The tension in her throat and chest eased a little. She rose and made her way back to her car to drive home.

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