Salt fills windy waves that roar into the sandy shore softening into foamy bubbles. It was her first time swimming in the ocean, her first beach experience. She says the rivers are her sisters and brothers and the ocean her grandmother because her name is River Indra. She laughs in blue-eyed amusement at her own belief. I wasn’t sure if she would embrace the enormity of the ocean because of her ambiguity about sharks coming into shallow water. News traveled to Montana where she lives about sharks in North Carolina. Nonetheless, we walked out onto the hot sand toward white waves and the sound of laughter. The water flowed over our toes and feet, it was chilly, but refreshing as we made our way deeper. The waves slapped over our thrilled bodies, granddaughter and grandmother stepping into the mouth of the Atlantic. The waves swallowed us spitting us out over and over, and each time was just as exhilarating; there were no more thoughts of sharks.
As I stood with River, my mind slipped into a darker time and sadness filled my joyful soul. If only, I could have had the hand of a daughter to hold, to stand with at the mouth of this green wide ocean. Eleven years of living in abuse and bondage took from us, any hope of salty sea-filled-air days. We spent too many years at the foot of something bigger than the ocean; lost to each other and lost to the world around. Years of feet that ran, instead of feet that stood in the softness of flowing foamy water. My heart aches and mourns for a few minutes over lost years that cannot rewind, cannot be in this moment, as now, with a granddaughter, standing in sunlight.
Rhonda lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and Yorkie Bella Monroe. She continues to write short stories and poetry under her pen name Marie Baril Coble. You can find some of her writings at Wordpress: mariebaril.com