The moonlight rises over the midnight blue horizon. The roar of the incoming waves rolls in with each curling breaker. I stand, feet firmly in wet sand, toes pointing toward the distant blue depths, waiting. Sinking. Each wave comes in, kissing my feet, lapping at the shore, chasing driftwood in, and back out. The undertow grips me, drawing me, calling me.

This is not where I intended to find myself. This horizon, this shore, these waves of uncertainty, this undertow of change and confusion.

We have achieved a great deal together, and it seems that together, we will undo a great deal more.

Empathy. Patience. Understanding. Listening.

In the rooms of the specialists we pay to support us, words rattle around in the air above us like storm clouds. Some days you raise a hand and pick select syllables out of the air, clinging to them, replaying them, struggling to find meaning. Other days you leave them to multiply, to divide, to expand, and other days, the weight of your silence fills the chasm between us – The Great Divide.

This is a shoreline I am not familiar with. A geography for which I have no map, a journey without a destination.

Once, your toes were next to mine. Your feet, kissed by the same sparkling water, by the same undertow, sinking further into the same sand. As the night wore on, your form changed. You became smaller. Your toes changed into rigid shapes, your legs, hips, torso, arms, devolving into a small, oval shape.

I closed my eyes, and when I opened, you were a shell, gently caressing my toes, silently flowing in and out with the tide.

I watched as you bobbed helplessly out to sea. I drew my feet from the sinkholes they had come to rest in and I lifted each leg with all my might – breakers crashing against my ankles, and then my shins, and then my knees – the water rising, the tide more aggressive, the undertow harder to fight. A finger’s length out of reach, you bobbed.

I waded after you. Lifted up by the abyss beneath me, my torso raised, shoulders tight, neck straining to keep my head above water – I swam. I swam after you with all I had. Every ounce of might in my body, every cell in my being summoning all of the energy it could to propel me toward you. You bobbed.

I stopped.

I closed my eyes.

You were no more than a shell on the horizon. Tossed around by the white-tops, sometimes casting back the moonlight, reflecting back to me on the shore.

Come after me.

I open my eyes and look down at my feet. Now up to my shins in sand, waiting, wanting. Legs fatigued from fighting the undertow, thighs tensed, back straight. The moon dances over the tide, rippling up the shore, reflecting back the emptiness of the night above me.

You stood there, once. Right there. Next to me.

I close my eyes.

I wait.

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