He lived by the sea but wasn’t bothered about sitting and enjoying the view. I didn’t understand that about him. I can always see something new and exciting on the shore, in the shallows, thrashing in the deep, shifting on the horizon. The clouds, the storms, the sunshine; even birds were in my focus. But he walked along the promenade, not caring.
When we went to the pier he preferred to sit and look at the buildings, which suited me just fine. I was the roiling seas with their ever-present motion, tumbling waves and surprise splashes of foam on the rocks. He was stoic. A fresh coat of paint on a building; double-glazed windows to keep out the noise.
Declarations were forbidden. This wasn’t something we spoke about, just something that I knew. But I had to test it, as was my nature: a tide slowly coming in with tips of fingers searching for cracks before slowly ebbing away. I moved back and forth with the moon as my companion until finally, I thought I’d found a possibility. A shifting of a brick here, a little patch of grout missing there. A way in.
I took my chance, the sea rising up with a giant wave that I knew would be laughed about in our future. A story told to children in our beautiful countryside house – even if the children were nieces and nephews or covered in fur. Somewhere where the ocean was tamed into a river coupled with a sprawling house sporting transparent glass windows overlooking the bank.
But the sea didn’t make it that far. The house had guarded against any leaks coming in to spoil its tidy interior. No rot was to be found in these walls. I retreated into gloomy weather and storms that raged against the pier, battered against the shore, and tore at the foundations of my dreams and my hopes.
But then, a thought. I do not want to be tamed. I do not want to change from the ocean into a river. I am unpredictable. I am seething. I am both desire and danger; refreshing and tumultuous; filled with wonder and movement and depth and beauty. And I deserve someone who is willing to understand and navigate those waters, to forgive mistakes, to apprehend and savour the nature of the sea.
Houses do not mix with the ocean. So I stopped trying.