The clouds set in right when I hit the highest height of the wave, the icy water soaking my skin and sending shivers through my head which throbs in reaction to the cold, the pulsing-pulsing blinding my brain and making me spin, the water spitting me out into the air, the wind meeting waves and carrying me out further. I don’t look back, I don’t turn around, looking to see how far I’ve floated, how far the water has danced me out. I know that my feet cannot find sand and I know that my legs are dangling, loose and liquid under the surface.
I lower my bathing suit top and let my breasts breathe the ocean in. Weightless and buoyant I feel my free flesh sway and swing in the water’s wake, the brine wearing me down like sea glass. The way my body feels when it is in water is what makes me want to be alive. The way it shocks my system and reminds me I am tethered to the Earth, tethered yes but boundless still, in the way I think and roam. Sometimes I feel so displaced that I think I cannot possibly belong here but then the sea, with all its salt and sand and alien algae reminds me that there is a place for everything.
No matter how foreign a feeling, it has been felt before. Maybe not by you and maybe not by anyone you know but somewhere, through the woods, over an ocean, on some other sandy shore, it has been felt before, by the trees and the fish and all the breathing life we cannot see, this feeling has been felt. It has existed much longer than you have, so act humble when it comes to visit, be a gracious host, offer it a seat, a cigarette, make it feel at home. It has come to see you for a reason, come from far away to tell you something. Hold it to your ear like a shell from the sea and listen with everything inside of you telling you to cover your ears.
Elizabeth Lerman is a graduate from the University of Vermont where she earned her B.A in Film Studies and Literature. In her work, Elizabeth is passionate about highlighting strong female voices, and diversity within her characters and their narratives. She strives to investigate the minds of complex characters as they face both trivial and trying obstacles. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York and is pursuing a career in creative writing.