The sand bled through her toes at every flick of the ankle, each grain of salt representing a week spent in intensive therapy. When the wind blew east, energy and compassion overcame her, while at the west, depression and suicide knocked. The voices in her head were constant and loud, something that would make anyone a little batty.
She inched closer to the water; butt still on sand, submerged in icy water. Waiting for Robert to treat her with respect and dignity got her nowhere but stuck in the freezing cold with too much pride to accept love from a co-worker like Joe. After all, she’d met Robert at her previous job, so fully trusting male co-workers felt dangerous.
While they, Joe and a few others from her new office, left her on the beach to eat, Samantha contemplated staying there, no matter how high or cold the water could get, to possibly find peace. Or to at least silence her thoughts for a while.
Upon making her final decision, placing her belonging to the side in the driest spot around, she heard a thunderous voice. It scared her, almost making her choke on the water she’d began to enjoy tasting.
“You said you were going to join us at The Hub. Now you’re soaked and wet. What gives, Manny?” Joe said.
“I changed my mind, Joe. You all were engaged in conversation already. Plus, the table looked full,” Samantha said.
“From here, the table does look full, but I can assure there’s a dry seat awaiting you next to me. I want you with me. With all of us.”
“Really? I was hoping you’d all forget I said I was coming. I got caught up in this beautiful water.”
Somehow, he could always tell when she needed something. Samantha turned away from Joe wondering if he’d caught the symbolism in her last sentence. It was what her mother called “the worst,” which was suicide over the weight of Robert’s mess.
“How could I forget about you, Samantha? The only reason I left you is because I could tell you needed a moment to yourself. Now it has passed. Let’s get you into some dry clothes and to the table.”
He helped her up gently and picked up her bag. Joe knew Samantha, it seemed, from a previous life; always available at the right time. She never thanked him for it aloud, but she noticed it and was grateful for him and the goodness he brought into her life. While he was the strong one in their dynamic, being near Samantha – at work, offsite events, the not so accidental run ins at the bookstore – offered something special to him, too. Neither of them understood what it was but at times like these, they didn’t complain.
Sand rinsed through the ocean and she felt like a new woman. Safe, secure, a sense of belonging established. The abusive and adulterous road past her ex, Robert, would be long but with meaningful angels like Joe around, she would be fine. Samantha felt the sun graze her cheeks. With a smile, she darted off with Joe toward The Hub and could taste seasoned fries and ketchup-hamburgers. For the first time in ages, Samantha felt like she mattered.
© Ariel C. Williams
June 24, 2018