In the winter of 2013, I alone travelled to the sunny and still-warm Caribbean Sea on the southern side of the earth, to expect Christmas and a happy New Year. I had my hope - for the blue or the green of the sea water, or the white of the wave, or the yellow of the sands from the other side of the sea – should any of them be able to fulfill some colour for my fading youth? While surfing, I met an English guy during a wave - I was lying on my surfboard, and he was sitting on his – as the wave hit, he was washed down into the sea. The English guy was staying in a seaside villa with three girls and another guy. They all came from London. The guy invited me, who was staying in the hostel, to join them. Only he knew how to surf - another surfer changed his mind in the last minute, having his yellow surfboard and despondent girlfriend had to come alone. For that one month I did nothing but swimming and surfing. But sometimes, I sat myself on the balcony of the second floor, to read, sink myself in alcohol, and stare across to the other side of the sea until I’d forgotten whether it was day or night. That ownerless bleak yellow surfboard was placed in the shadow at the corner of the balcony. Only as the canary-yellow sunset that wandered by the cape dyed the canvas of the sky and sea pink while I was not paying attention, the surfboard would become golden, and met my eyes when I turned my head. With my lit eyes full of thoughts, I had no way to tell its real colour.
Sometimes, the sky above was aqua blue. As if not having enough paint, the sky dyed its blue into the salt water, gradually faded into white where it crosses the sea – layers the sea – the deep-blue in distance – Indigo – turquoise – dark – green – green with sands – a white wave broke onto the reef rock that’s less than 5 meters wide under the balcony; coconut trees and sandy beach on my left, and my right hand sides grew all the way to the other end of the promontory. The shadow of mine stretched by the setting sun, printed on the white beach, as the light and alcohol numbed me, slowly, continuously, as if dreaming, as if the warm sun of the winter, the pain was there quietly. Between the lights, I seemed to be able to see the back of hers, she’s about to turn – and I awoke, and knew that it was even impossible to see her again.
Beautiful things make me sad. In the summer of 2009 she grabbed a handful of sand on the beach, and what ran and fleeted between her fingers were my incomplete heart, that cannot be saved. In my endless dreams, sculptured by sand, only she could take shape.
All these years, how many times I dreamed of her, how many times I failed to see her. She never turn. Perhaps even in dream, I wasn’t brave enough to lose her again.
written on a balcony at the beach of Rincón, 2013
(original Chinese version published on LIBERTY TIMES, 2019)