The Eternal Friendship
K. Potter, 2006
The water rolls gently across the delicate cinnamon brown sand. As my feet make imprints into the gentle beads of the sand, I soak in the salt of the sea. I take a slow walk with the sunset as the sea whispers sweet nothings in my ears. We become instant friends and share our experiences with each other. She tells me stories of pirates, late night cruises, and underwater escapades of secret lovers. Her words vibrate in my ear, and I hold on to everything she tells me. The sea opens my eyes with every word she says, and I could tell that our friendship will be a lasting one.
I first met the sea at the tender age of ten. She was a bit older then I and taught me all of the things she knew. As I was young, I didn’t take in what she told me and ignored her greatly. I spent time with my cousins in Cape Hatteras and Nags Head, completely neglecting the friendship that I had with the sea. Morgan, my only girl cousin and the same age as me, became my new best friend. We enjoyed each other’s company greatly and stayed up all night talking about life and ‘hardships’ that we encountered at ten. We would talk deep into the night about how cute the lifeguard was. The hours crept slowly into our bedroom as we continued our talks into the next day. Waking up at the crack of dawn, with only a few hours of sleep, we would run out to the sea with our boards in hand to catch the early morning waves.
As often as we spent time together, there was still one aspect about her that I couldn’t understand. At the tender and simple age of ten, she was talking about boys excessively, enough to drive me crazy. My friends back in St. Louis weren’t nearly as boy crazy as my cousin. Every other sentence consisted of the likes of ‘some guy’ and how hot he was. “Did you see the boy in the mustang? Did you see that hot lifeguard three miles down? Did you see that gorgeous guy at the beach? Did you see the hot guy walking the dog?” She dared speak of anything else. Her brother wasn’t nearly as crazy about the opposite sex as Morgan was yet, even he had his faults. The way my uncle and aunt raised their kids were so different to the way in which I was raised. The few talks that I had with the sea weren’t as shallow and simple minded as those in the beach house with my cousins yet, it took me several years to realize this. Unfortunately, the sea stopped speaking with me, for the time spent at the beach was with my cousins instead of her. We drove away from Nags Head in the late weeks of August. I packed my bags and hopped in the car, without turning to say goodbye to my forgotten friend.
Several years passed, and my cousin hadn’t called or even sent a postcard. I had called her at all of the ‘proper’ times, her birthday, Christmas, Easter. Yet, as persistent as I was of preserving our friendship, she never returned the favor. One September morning I glanced at my dresser and passionately observed the seashell the sea had given me. She gave me this shell on the first day of our meeting, hoping to be my friend forever. I hadn’t noticed it until that day. Sitting on my bed, crying tears of reminiscence and sadness, I desired the sea more than ever. I just wanted to visit her and cry into her gentle arms, telling her how much I needed her when I started middle school and high school. Or, how hard it was to have my grandmother die without someone as strong as the sea to carry me through that tunnel. It had been so long since I visited her that I sadly forgot the tender smell she had of salt and seaweeds in the morning. Oh, how I wished I could see her again and soak in her eternal love.
My uncle called me one gray, sad morning to tell me happy birthday. I had turned fifteen, and spent five long years without talking to my distant friend. He told me that I was going to accompany his family to the beach in a few weeks. This thought cheered me greatly yet, on my arrival everything I knew and loved the first time was different. The sea had remained the same, yet my family had changed completely. My older cousin was smoking cigarettes and drinking Budweiser. Morgan, the one I knew and could relate to so well, was also a changed person. She changed her image, with contacts, highlights and a larger bra size. Suddenly, I couldn’t relate to her as much as I did the first time. She spent nights in the houses of neighboring guys while I spent my nights outside apologizing to the sea for my rude behavior. She took several nights to forgive me, on of those nights it started raining and I knew she was crying because of me. A couple of nights passed, and she told me that she forgave me. We shared our special secrets, those saved for that one person, and it was then that she told me of pirates, late night cruises, and underwater escapades. She had so much to tell me and I, her.
We spent the night with each other as we discussed the feelings of isolation and solitude. I laid on her shoulder and she covered me with her blanket of love. If it weren’t for the sea I would have been so lonely. My cousins moved on to another world and left me behind to grow and mature or pretend, like them. She told me a story of the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras. I had been there once and remembered it being closed to the public. It was isolated and lonely just like we had been. That night, I learned to appreciate nature and its gift to us. She gave me another shell and told me that no matter what, she would be there for me. It was the last day of my trip, and I told her that I wouldn’t be back until college. We cried tears of sadness and happiness for the future. As the sky poured her tears, I put on my raincoat and stepped into the car.
Without my friendship with the sea, I wouldn’t be the same. She taught me to remain constant and not to change, no matter how much pressure society puts on me. I also understand the difference between friendships with nature and friendships with people, who are constantly changing who they are.
When I turned around to say goodbye, I saw several little children in her water and several old ladies sunbathing. I knew that those old ladies had experienced her eternal friendship and that those little kids were in good hands. I knew that the people generations before me and the people generations after me will have something in common. She will be here forever to teach others the lessons that she generously taught me. When I’m an older woman, hopefully I can visit her, in her youthfulness, and fall in love with her all over again.