A Malicious Beach

What a sinister, devious thing a beach is!  I have no alternative but to trust these eyes that suggest the ocean is producing innumerable silhouettes, humanoid shadows playing in the place of their corporeal counterparts.  Were I not here myself to know what this sand is capable of; to know what a voracious and insatiable parasite it is, I would be inclined to wonder what happened to my brothers and sisters—how sweet the distant undulations of ignorance sound to one who weeps simply because he knows.

It is this sand, envious of man for his solidarity in form, that inconspicuously imbibes his vital forces as he treads upon it, unaware and unsuspecting.  It is only at lifting my feet from this chimerical mass, neither altogether liquid nor solid, and placing them on the chair I am sitting on that I have been able to breathe again without yawning.  The shadows are remnants of lost men, for them a threnody and solemn nod but no more, lest one reaches from the limbo containing all that is formless yet desirous, intangible yet present, conscious yet unaware, and grabs the ankle of those still yet with solidarity in form.

Awareness safeguards one from treachery—thus it becomes possible to sit here without being in the slightest disturbed, as those lions that sit staring deep into the savannah, indifferent and unaffected by the flies perching and buzzing on and around them.  There are no flies here, but vindictive grains of sand and aged Peruvians who find delight in passing by those trying to sleep and offering cervezas, seviche, y macaroni con pollo—I would sooner patronize them if it were silence that they sold.  As if the raucous movement of the water was not enough, there is the pervasive beating of raggaeton, the restless pattering and chattering of children, and gliding above it all, the intimate sound of numerous conversations in this language that seems to be slowing down for me with each passing day.

Of course it is all integral to the environment and appreciated as a whole; I cannot know if I would be this fond of it if it were altered in the slightest.  I have been here for long enough to develop the certainty that this for me now, is the ideal: to have a populated, relatively attractive beach adjacent to the bohemian Barranco, so conducive for creativity and productivity, and occupied by people as beautiful externally as they are internally—a new friend, as I was coming here, despite her immoral character and depraved openness, asked where I was going after complimenting the music I was making and I told her to sleep on the beach for the tent being bathed by sunlight and consequently, too hot to sleep in, humbly revealed her kind soul by offering her bed to me (such kindness is not lost on me)—who, unlike those I left behind, know how to smile, to have all this is no less than a blessing.

As if this was not enough to cast my soul into grateful prostration before the infinite goodness of God, today I found myself blessed further still, sinner though I am, when I read an email telling me one of my works is to soon be published.  I cannot but consider the opinion of the editor of a magazine—when it is regarding my writing—to be of greater significance than that of the casual reader and so for the first time since that very initial occasion on which my work was read so many months ago, I allowed praise to delight me.  This must be as a mother of many feels when one of her children is accepted for university or a decent job, that is I am happy for my conception, but am not for a moment distracted from my obligation to the many still remaining under my care.

How interesting that this would come after a conversation that lasted all night—I have slept but two hours—with the help of a few white lines which at one point explored pride.  I held that pride is only justified when it comes from the actions of an individual—as opposed to absurdities such as national pride, pride in a state’s sports team, or in the actions of a long decomposed ancestor, etc.—and it seems there was greater truth in what I said than I thought then.  I feel proud for my writing and its impending publication and I do so without suffering from the pangs of an uneasy conscience I have known in the past for harboring pride.


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