Lost to the sea

It is completely against his agenda to be out there tonight.

David hardly expects that his detour would lead him out to a sacred, yet at the same time, cursed place. A place where his dreams and memories, both good and bad, lay.

The rosy glow of blazing fiery orange of the evening sky that merges with the undulating ocean like a shimmering mirage is a mesmerizing, captivating sight, but he does not recognize this beauty. His mind is elsewhere, not paying attention to what his eyes, now dead and lifeless, see.

Instead he envisions his son standing at the border of darkened damp sand where the tides meet the blanket of white sandy grains of the beach. Pretending for an instance that the breeze he feels against his back and sees tossing the water is really just his son kicking the waves back at the sea, or that even the gentle swaying of the waves itself is just Aaron's way of greeting him a hello.

Because it is here, that he is everywhere.

His presence is in every raindrop that hits the Earth when it cascades down like the weeping heavens when the weight is too heavy and the clouds buckle under the pressure. He lives in the ebb and flow of the waves that crawl on the coast. His spirit is tied to the eternal cycle of the push and the pull.

It takes David a long time to grasp this concept that his son, Aaron, has moved on to live with the ocean.

It had always been his dream, after all. To live freely in the vastness of the unending seas, free from the troubles on land. Perhaps, he might have ended up among the ranks of the Navy.

The great expanses of blue had always captured Aaron. It was like a jewel in the daylight. The rays of the sun bouncing off the rippling surface to give the ocean the likeness of a sacred shimmering blanket of radiant crystals, with beauty that far exceeds even those of pearls or sapphires.

Quite literally, it was this beauty that had taken his breath away.

David knows that his son would have been happy to spend his whole lifetime at the ocean.

He recalls back to the days of summer where the family had spent the days at the beach, with gentle cerulean waters washing gracefully along the shore. He remembers Aaron, gazing blankly at the tides moving in and out of the water, lapping hungrily at his feet. The waves were almost hypnotic, entrancing him to sway his arms back and forth in tune of the ocean.

"What are you looking out for?" he remembers asking.

"Oh, I was just thinking about how what's on the beach, good or bad, just gets swept in to start anew. It's like the ocean is saying 'I forgive you', or something."

The reply had left him stunned and speechless. It had not helped that he was startled into a reply that was really more of a yelp after Aaron had poked his sides several times for a response, much to his chagrin. Yet, the words were profound all the same.

David knows it is not natural, and yet he cannot help but resent the ocean.

There are days when he curses the seas for taking Aaron away, when he is forced to remember the hours that led up to his death. Even thinking about it leaves a bitter taste at the back of his tongue, and when he is finished, it leaves him tired, unsatisfied and needlessly angry, with the heavy load of regret weighing deeply upon his shoulders.

Most of the time, he goes through sleepless nights. He is haunted constantly by the numerous memories of his son, like an unwanted plague that just will not leave him alone. On most nights, he still sees Aaron reading quietly in his room by the old desk lamp that illuminates the pale alabaster walls with a homely orange hue. The place is still full of old memorabilia such as toys, books and the like, but David has not the heart to clear them out just yet.

On those nights, David wishes that he is still there.

When he does sleep, his dreams are tainted with nightmares of the day. The memories chase him like misguided ghosts, the ephemeral presence taunting him. In those memories, he sees the image of Aaron leaning dangerously against the rails of the ferry they were riding. He almost tastes the salty humid air in those nightmares, right before the mighty storm had taken over to ravage the seas.

In those dreams, David sees himself reaching out to Aaron, telling him "Get the hell away from there!" His arm is outstretched and he is about to grasp his son's arm, when the wave intercepts and sweeps Aaron in, pushing him into the water.

He sees the greedy ocean claiming Aaron as its own, with an unrelenting hold on him. The waves are like merciless hands, tossing and flipping the poor child around like a puny ragdoll.

He sees himself desperately reaching out for his son one last time, the moment where they barely touch fingers and hope ignites in him, but the bobbing of the waves continue to taunt him as Aaron is pulled up and down, tantalizingly out of his reach.

A great wave douses the fire of hope within the soul, and Aaron is no more, pulled under the seas for an eternity.

In those dreams, he remembers his helplessness, his uselessness. He feels the utter despair and desperation, and the guilt of being an absolute failure.

Aaron's presence in the waters, though momentary, is a constant reminder.

Maybe that is why David is stuck between the choice of what, or whom he hates more; the water, or himself.

Wistfully, he looks down from the august incandescence bleeding in the sky to where the sand meets the dark blue of the ocean at night, and he sees the waves washing over the course grains. They erase away any trace of human presence that might have been there during the day.

"It's like the ocean is saying 'I forgive you', or something," he recalls.

As he turns away from the ocean, ashamed to meet the face of the sea, he only hopes Aaron can do the same.

Revised on 24/12/2012, changed the introduction significantly. Merry Christmas.