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  • Writer's pictureVivian Li

What We May Never Know

It was a Saturday morning, and I sat on the fine granules of sand, just as the sun came over the horizon. The sun, slowly but surely, started to stain the sky with oranges, pinks and purples. Her glorious shining rays swept across the darkness, and was welcoming a new day, on the world. It was slightly chilly, I felt the breeze as the north wind pulled on my linen henley shirt and tugged at my hair, beckoning me to take her hand and fly away. I dug my feet deeper into the sand, and I felt the granules tickle my toes as they rooted there. The wind was not going to get her way today, no matter how hard she tried, I thought to myself, smiling. As if the wind could hear my thoughts, she politely stopped playing with me and apologised. 


Although I could hear the waves lapping at the beach’s edge, the bright blue of the sea was nonexistent before the sun had peaked over the horizon. It looked dark and mysterious. A menacing character not to be played with. But when the sun came up, like a switch, the blue came back. I chuckled to myself. It seems even the sea has sides to her, that no one but herself, can see. With every hug the ocean gave, the sand met each embrace with open arms. It is a relationship that never ends. I’d want a love like that, I thought. A love that would never diminish, no matter what happens. The smell of the sea and sand, slightly salty, slightly sweet. It had the fresh cooling nature you’d expect from a cucumber, in a gin and tonic. The salinity from a salt rimmed margarita glass, and a sweetness you taste from barley sugar in a dram of scotch whisky. 


The sky is blue now, with fluffy marshmallowy clouds floating by. They look like the cotton candy you get at the state fairs, airy and wispy, but substantial. They smile and wave at me as we both greet each other “good morning”. Seagulls appear, flying in the wind. They start cawing, as they start their daily routine. They say “hello, my friend,”  as they fly by, and I reply back with a smile and wave. Some seagulls land on the golden granules, and others were getting take out at sea. 


Growls from vehicles roar in the distance behind me, paying homage to the hustle and bustle that we all experience from day to day. I am grateful for the calmness I feel before me, with the sea, sand and sun. A scatter of cars were pulling up at the parking lot. Car door open and close, followed by the beep beeps from the locking of them. They see me, smile and wave. I smile back, and return pleasantries without saying a word. 


Opened umbrellas, spread towels, applied sun lotion, prepared picnic baskets, children laughing, people swimming, romantic couples, friend groups. It’s loud, but quiet. Lively, but tame. Busy, but relaxed. Fun, but controlled. It’s warm and peaceful. The day goes by, it’s gets busier, people come and go. 


My thoughts go back to the wild and hectic lifestyles we all have. It’s not good or bad. It’s just an aspect of life we all go through, whether we like it or not. I find it funny sometimes, how we often never really find a place that we truly feel we belong? Or at least, until we leave work and worries behind, from looking at the families or friends spending time together at the beach today. 


When do we ever find ourselves being grateful to have what or who we have? Why does it seem impossible to have all your hopes, dreams and wishes come together, like it was meant to? How many times do situations go according to our plans at all? How many times do we try to work towards a goal, and we return empty handed? Or, when you do get what you want, it turns out it’s nothing like you ever expect it to be? Why do we always choose something we want, instead of what we need? 


Hours fly past, and I catch myself falling into a blackhole of thoughts. The sound of the sea, the warmth of the sun and the cool wet sand became an afterthought. I loved these moments. When all I think about are the bigger questions. Questions people normally disregard. But those who know me personally always ask, “why do you waste your time thinking about questions that may never be answered?” I smile at the question, as it’s also something I can never answer. 


The days that I spend out here, on the beach, is when my mind is free to wander wherever it wants to. Most of the time it goes back to these questions that I can’t answer. My mind goes back to life lessons that I’ve learnt over the years, and although I cannot really answer the initial questions, I think I can answer the question my friends ask me. 


As the sun begins to set, beyond the hills in the distant horizon, the moon rises and the darkness is swept yet again, once more. I say “goodbye, see you tomorrow” to the sun, and hope a wonderful new day to people elsewhere, on this bouncing ball of air and fire, in our universe.


These questions make me believe that there are bigger things to think about than our mundane of everyday. When things go wrong or we have mishaps, we normally cry and rage. We become bitter, it could be for a few hours, it could be a few years or we may never go back to how we were before. Like a rubber band that has gone beyond its ability to bend back. 


These questions help me to realise that there’s so much we don’t understand, so much we can’t understand. It also makes me appreciate the unknown and to be content with not knowing the full story. My thoughts are, in there own way, keeping me grateful for the part I play in the world today. It’s an encouragement to take each opportunity, each moment, each path, each door as they come, and to be fully present in the now.


The seagulls have flown back home after saying, “goodbye, see you soon.” The ocean had lost its blue and had become dark and mysterious again. I smiled and thought her darkness was like a physical representation, of the secrets we think about, in our head and heart. 


I ask myself, “I wonder if the sea feels burdened by all those questions and thoughts that was let go to her.” I stood up and turned around to leave for home. I turned my head to get one last look at the sea and I thought to myself, “well, it seems even the sea has stories that I may never know.” I chuckled to myself, and headed on my journey home.  


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