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At the Beach. . . Alone Again

Larry James
Written March 21, 1993

NOTE:   Although the beach described in the poem is imaginary. . . the relationship and the pain of a changing relationship was very real. Each night as I went to sleep, I listened to the sounds of the ocean on my CD player as I imagined being on the beach with my lover. Writing this poem was a necessary step to facilitate the healing process and to bring closure to the relationship. - Larry James

The Sounds of the Ocean

I close my eyes and return to the beach each night as I go to sleep.

I often sit alone on an overturned, weather-beaten boat, long abandoned by its skipper, remembering when we were so in love and happy to be here together. I sit leafing through the many memories we've made together that brought us to where we are today.

It seems like so long ago.

The island ambience was of love.

For more than fifteen months. . . every night. . . I brought you with me to the beach. I feel lost without you. It seems strange not having you here with me now.

You left your bodyprint in the sand, beside my own. I loved seeing you next to me.

The fragrance of wild flowers was in the air this morning and once more I thought of you. I often picked wild flowers for your hair and surprised you with a fresh bouquet. . . blessed with love.

Yesterday, while walking along the beach, I found a discarded lavender orchid you once wore in your hair. I reached down to pick it up and when I touched it, I could not hold back the tears.

I miss being with you.

Remnants of a windblown sandcastle brought on another fond memory of being with you. We played together for hours building that castle -- like two kids again -- while the gentle sea breeze cooled our sun-kissed bodies.

I remember kissing your tanned shoulders. . . your neck. . . your lips and the passionate lovemaking that followed. . . in the sun. . . beside the castle. I tasted the salt from the mist of the ocean on your soft, warm breasts as our hot bodies again found each other.

Later, in the quiet of the late afternoon, we worked to rebuild the castle guardhouse that was partially crushed as we rolled in the white sand during the heat of our passion.

You were my island princess. I gave my heart to you that day.

I thought we would be together forever.

Once, while together on the beach, we carved our names on the trunk of a palm tree. Its trunk came briefly out of the sand, grew easterly over the water's edge to form a place for two weary lovers to sit, then stood tall to cast a small shadow near our favorite place for making love.

The weather has taken its toll on our art work in the sun, and while it is more difficult to see now, the love we knew, once crafted with passion, is emblazoned forever as a memory of happier times past.

My daily inspiration came from watching you maintain a healthy body with your early morning runs. I loved to watch you running barefoot in the sand, wearing nothing but your smile; the beads of sweat glistening in the sun. . . running down your back to the dimples on your shapely buns of steel.

Following your run, you always came to me, breathless. . . then came the lingering embrace. . . two lovers content to be in each others arms. . . close together. . . in a continuous dance of love along the beach.

"Oh, how I loved you."

Coconut shells abandoned along the path reminded me of a barefoot inner-island journey taken hand-in-hand. We were so in love. That was the day you fed me berries you had picked near the pool of clear water beneath our very own private waterfall.

I remember once while you were sleeping in the sun, I gently placed a small leaf over the nakedness between your thighs. The sun did it's work that day. For several days you carried with you the sun's imprint of what looked like your very own fig leaf on your beautiful bronze body.

I loved to watch you lying in the sun; wearing nothing but your tan; your beach-brown body against the pure white sand; the sand clinging to your thighs with the closeness we used to experience while making love.

I miss the many times we roamed the beach searching for driftwood for our late-night bonfires near the waters edge. The stack of driftwood we gathered together is almost gone.

I often stare into the flames and only see your face. Being with you by the fire somehow always rekindled our passion.

It's lonely by the fire without you.

Alone, resting beneath a coconut tree, I can hear the sea crashing on the rocks, and on occasion, between the crashing, when all is still, I can still hear your soft voice whisper, "I love being here with you."

I hear your voice as if you were right next to me. And when I do, I am again overcome with sadness.

I miss you so.

I realize that the voice I hear only comes from memory; it is only something I want to happen and it is not likely I will ever hear your voice say those words again. I really am only dreaming. . . a saddening realization.

I don't need to hear what you don't want to say.

You were the warm, tropical breeze in my sails. When you told me you wanted to see others. . . something happened. I felt dead in the water. At that moment, a part of us slowly began to die.

On my own, I did everything I could to keep our love alive. I have discovered this to be an impossible task for only one.

One is such a lonely number.

I began to find it difficult to be with you at the beach. I could imagine us both here, lying in our special place in the sun. . . and then you would disappear. . . the vision of you would slowly fade from view and I was again alone.

At the time, I did my best to let you know how very much I loved you. I loved you with a passion I allowed no other lover to know.

I once believed our love was strong enough to weather any storm.

It only rained once on our make believe island paradise while we were there together. Not a heavy rain. . . a light, graceful, yet brief shower.

I remember the rain in your hair. . . making love in the moistness of the freshly fallen rain. . . oh, so slow. . . and easy. . . and wet. . . and wild.

I remember watching as the rain created that tiny pool of water in your navel. . . your body glistened as the sun would occasionally peak from behind the cotton clouds.

The rain saturated our bodies with its wetness and the sand. . . the white sand covered our hot naked bodies with its rain-fresh coolness.

You were my sunshine.

It rained again today. The clouds cast a giant shadow on our paradise for two.

beach scene

With it, the rain brought sadness; sadness of remembering the rhythm of the rain on the palm trees and the intimate rhythm pattern we discovered the very last time we made love on the island.

The sun may never shine again for us.

With you so far away; with no sign of encouragement from you, I am learning that I can't be in a relationship with you when there is only me holding on all by myself. You are no longer there for me to hold on to.

I'm tired. It takes more strength than I have to hold on.

I can no longer seem to keep you here with me. It is like watching someone you love so much slowly vanish into nothingness.

At first it disturbed me that I was not able to hold you in mind long enough to really be with you. . . like old times.

No longer.

It's time I let go. I can no longer torment myself, not even if only in my imagination.

I can no longer bring you back to our island of love, knowing this is not where you really want to be.

I can't bring myself to see you here with me anymore. In reality, I know you want to be here, yet you are afraid.

Bringing you here with me in my imagination is only pretending that things are okay when I know they are not.

I am through pretending.

I am angry about your obsession with holding on to fear.

I believe that more than anything you want to be loved, yet you are afraid of the commitment that goes with being loved because you are afraid of being hurt again.

And because you are afraid of being hurt again, you most certainly will.

Being in a forever love relationship anchored in unconditional love may require more courage than you can muster.

Courage is no more and no less than being willing to take the first step while you are still afraid.

You've been so busy being afraid, maybe you have forgotten what it was like when we were in love. . . or maybe you have forgotten how much we ever loved each other. . . or that we ever really did love each other.

There is no longer any room on our island for anyone whose fear is stronger than their love.

Only once has anger reared its ugly head on our island. I vow it never will again.

Recently it expressed itself visibly. In anger, I took a piece of driftwood and erased the spot where your body had left its sandprint next to mine. With my help, a giant palm leaf made smooth the spot where you used to lay.

And then there was only one.

I have always believed that if you hold the vision long enough, it will come true. I still believe that. And yet, I cannot seem to hold the vision of you here with me.

I remember once saying, "As long as I have the dream, it will always be to soon to say goodbye."

The passage of time does some crazy things to your mind. It is my greatest enemy. With time, the dream slowly fades. . . it loses it's power. Time raises doubts, fears and more.

There comes a time when I must, for my own peace of mind, let go.

It used to be that our footprints, side by side, were visible all over the beach and, when followed, would take us nowhere. . . except back into each other's arms.

The night wind, after high tide, is forever doing its work to dismiss the memory of your presence here with me. Most of our footprints have fallen victim to the shifting sands. The wind is slowly erasing evidence that you were ever here with me.

I have come to the realization that to hold on to someone who does not want to be held is no longer something I can do.

It takes no strength to let go. It should be easy. It isn't.

I love you, that's why.

I shared all the love I had for you in my heart. It was pure, unconditional love and the distance you have created between us tells me it wasn't enough.

So. . . alone once more. . . I will again roam the beach, breathe the fresh air of the island, soak up some sun, feel the mist from the ocean waves and miss you so very much.

I will carry the scars of the pain of our separation on my heart forever. I will be protective of them for a while because my hurt is still to near the surface.

Time heals all wounds.

Just when I think I am past the point of remembering, something happens to bring the pain out again. It is normal to rediscover pain I thought I had handled. It takes time.

In my solitude, I find that even the tiniest traces of hurt can balloon to tremendous dimensions. It is then that I understand that memories often rise to the surface to be clarified and tenderly touched before they can be put away.

Each day I will work to become courageous enough to meet them face to face and not give them life to influence my every thought. I will be patient with myself and that is most likely the hardest part of healing.

I would like to think that if I could have one last, big cry of release, I would be okay. . . but I already did that. . . several times.

Recently I have spent my leisure time caring for a seagull with a broken wing. On occasion, she feeds from my hand. She sleeps on a nest of straw several feet from where you used to lay.

I suspect that it was no accident that we found each other at this time. We have become very close. I often talk to her about you, relating tales of our adventures together on our island paradise.

She knows I miss you. I can seldom recall memories of being with you without tears.

She cocks her head, first to the right, ruffles her feathers, struts around a bit, then cocks her head to the left as if to acknowledge my pain.

She will be ready to move on in another few days. I call her Freedom. I will miss her.

I see the healing of the hurt and the letting go of our relationship as a final rite of passage from what was to what's next.

Finding myself again is more important than ever for me now.

I can no longer be in limbo. I must get on with my life!

The tide turns. . . it always does.

The waves splash differently on the rocks along the beach each day.

Nothing stays the same. And we will be better for it. . . although it doesn't feel that way right now.

I must not wait for life to make things better. I prefer it to be my choice. When change comes from choice, I make way for a new miracle to occur.

You were my first choice. You were my miracle.

Often, in the distance I see you walking toward me on the beach. The closer you come, the more the vision of you fades, until when you are close enough for me to reach out and touch. . . you disappear.

My island paradise will never be the same without you.

"God, how I miss you!"

The songbirds of the island miss you. They sing a song of prayer for your return. Their songs are less frequent now.

The dolphins we once watched, dancing playfully in the open sea, now only occasionally surface to, in passing, nod as if to acknowledge you are no longer here with me. At night, when I am near slumber, in the distance, I can hear their mournful cries.

I will never bring another to this island. . . another island, perhaps. . . never this one.

Perhaps with the passage of time, I will seek other romantic adventures on other islands. There is another small island south of here that is available for discovery.

Now, I must be content to be alone again, insatiably curious about how long the complete healing of my hurt will take.

I miss not having you with me on the beach. There is an empty spot in my life. . . just your size.

I always wanted us to be forever together, writing pages upon pages of memories we could remember together tomorrow.

I remember quiet, loving moments with you; memories of pure gold. . . and if it were possible, I would reach back in time, take your hand once more and do it all again.

Someday. . . perhaps you may again thirst for the kind of love we once knew.

Look for me. I'll be on the beach.

You may find me on our island or on some distant isle. . . alone or seeking some new romantic adventure. . . nevertheless, look for me.

You are a part of me. You will live on in my heart forever.

I will love you always.

Farewell, my love.

Copyright © 1993 - - Larry James &

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