I was standing out on the edge of the world. The wind was blowing my hair across my face and my clothes to my skin. The world's end smelled of salt and fish, and the sun set behind me as I stood there, facing a mystery I would never solve.
The wooden beams to my right were covered in names and years and hearts, leaving a sign of people before me; people who had once thought like me and felt like me in this very moment: inspired. Looking at these names, it reminded me of a different world, a greater one. Where the world didn't end here, and the year that seemed so finite, so absolute to me was only the beginning.
I felt pushed to leave my own memoirs on this timeless wood, but I was reminded nothing is timeless. Either age or disaster would destroy this place, and my memoir, the sole symbol of my name and very existence, would disappear.
This realization crashed into me, and below I watched the water, rhythmically crashing against the shore. I felt so alone. It was the water, the sand, and I, always crashing, unchanged by place or time. Even though people surrounded me, a few of whom I loved deeply. I hadn't felt more beyond the sway.
I heard my name, and I turned. They were waiting for me to get over this epitomy of epiphanies.
But I couldn't escape. Walking away would be the resolution, the end of an era. I would no longer see this place under the light of freedom and chance, but under nostalgia.
Perhaps age would change me after all, unlike the water below me that stretched to the darkening horizon. And I would remember this place as somewhere I went almost every summer as a child, where I built my last sand castle and had an actually tolerable family vacation.
I turned, leaving my youth and everything I had come to love here since I was in a stroller. It was gone, forever to be looked at under different context. When my friend asked why I looked so different, I knew the answer.
I felt adult.