Just Like the Ocean

Man feeling freedom on open sea

BY LAUREN ESCHENBRENNER

The ocean always pushed away water just to surge it back in.

Currents and winds move the surface water that cause the waves; the tidals aerodynamically crashing onto the shore just to be sucked back into the depths of the water. The abyss was cavernous, the inky pigmentation painting over the nightmares that were bestowed in that area. But eventually, a little light would pass by on the head of an anglerfish, giving off luminescence to the nearby organisms, and a small spark of hope always ignited.

That was why she relied on the sea.

He was her sea, pushing her away only to lure her back in moments later. But this time it wasn’t moments, it was days upon days upon end. Moments passed, days passed, months passed.

Although in the end, his charismatic aura always reeled her back into regret.

He was here for her; she realized this whilst standing in the middle of her room, completely caught off guard by the sudden appearance of the boy she once loved. Once. Past tense. No more. Gone. Done.

She may have said she was done with his lies, but she never said goodbye.

That’s why she found herself mindlessly running down the stairs, the soft pitter-patter of her socks padding against the wooden floor, calming her for that moment being, soothing her worries.

But moments don’t last forever.

She didn’t need to open the door to know that he was there, waiting for her, wanting her to crawl back to him like she did every time. She didn’t need to open the door for her own sake, because by just glancing at him, she was already his.

“Get off my porch.” She leaned against the door in disdain, closing her eyes as if she were in pain.

His voice was muffled and hoarse. “Not until I see you.”

The thin material of mahogany drift wood stood between them, voices heard through muffled symphonies, signifying that both found clarity in each other’s voices.

In reality, she wanted to see him. She wanted to admire him and praise him like she always did, but she would be breaking a promise she made a long time ago. A promise to let go, a promise to move on.

“Get off my property.”

He was quick to answer, almost too eager. “I’m not leaving. Not again.”

And just like that, promises shatter.

Subconsciously, she found her palm grazing the glacial, chilling material of the steel doorknob, turning it oh-so slightly to give herself time to recuperate. Despite her indifferent expression held, her heart was thumping wildly and its rising pulse was drumming in her ears, creating a sensation of anxiety to rise within her skull.

She wished she turned around and moved on. But she couldn’t. She wouldn’t. Not without saying goodbye for real.

She opened the door to reveal him, in the flesh. He was sulking, she realized, and the violet rings that encompassed his eyes made his appearance seem weary and staggered; his stand was lazy, slouching his shoulders as if he were exhausted. Despite looking to be tired, he looked good. Too good.

He perked up. “Hey.”

She laughed dryly. “Get to the point.”

He sighed, his voice raspy and hoarse from God knows what. He ran a hand through his hair, just like she used to do, and every instinct in her body told her to keep her hands at her sides, looping her thumbs inside the waistline of her pants.

His face slightly fell as he avoided eye contact, whispering foreign words that rolled off his tongue uncomfortably. “I came to say I’m sorry.”

That was certainly something she didn’t expect to hear…especially from him.

Excuse me?”

He sighed, a tone laced with exhaustion was evident in his voice. “I’m sorry. I broke you. I don’t deserve you.”

The girl was in shock, unraveling the string of his words and trying to connect the dots to his main point. After a moment, she collected her thoughts and drove back into the conversation.

She crossed her arms over her chest, making it seem as if she wasn’t fazed by any of this. “Is that all?”

“I think so.”

Despite her shock, she shook her head disapprovingly.

“That’s a lie. We both know that. You know-every time you left me, I had no one else. Once I picked myself up, dusted off a layer, and set myself straight, you came tumbling back into my life and made me fall down over again.”

“I’m sorry.”

For the second time that night, she chuckled ironically, feeling like those words were just an autopilot response to everything. He didn’t even mean it. He never did. He only said these things to make up with her again and expect her to take him back. It worked in the past.

But it’s the present, and she’s done.

“I’m done.”

She voiced her thoughts, and she was so readable that he could anticipate every phrase that would come out of her mouth.

“You’ve had your chances,” she spat. “You’ve had your fun. You got what you wanted, yet, you still desire more even when I can’t supply.”

“I’m sorry.”

She rolled her eyes, the phrase becoming a sickening repeat of monotonous words. They were just two words strung together to mean they’re apologetic, but to him, it was a gateway to being forgiven.

The words itself made her cringe, shaking her head at him in the disbelief of his presence. He had the audacity to show up and say he’s sorry. She already knew he was sorry, and by this happening, he made things worse for himself and for her.

“I know. I know you’re sorry.”

She has never said goodbye. She hated goodbyes; she hated them because she knew they meant forever in the sense of sadness. She loathed a farewell to the ones she loves because it makes her feel distant and alone. The word itself signifies departure, and the feeling of being estranged from love gave her serious pain.

This time, she meant it.

Goodbye.”

The word was foreign on her tongue, uncomfortably tumbling from her lips in a sense of strangeness. As soon as she said it, though, she felt good.

It felt good to see him go, to walk away and never return in that moment. She watched him leave in silence, probably proud of the uprise he created within that small period of time.

But just like the ocean, he’d eventually lure her back in and drown her in the abyss like he always did.