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A Late Night, Unencumbered Walk Along the Shores of North Myrtle Beach
My dear readers, it has been far too long, and before I continue on with my latest installment of prose, there are a few things that must be said by yours truly. First of all, despite not posting in well over a fortnight, you all have managed to push me to the 200 subscriber threshold, a number I did not fathom when I started sharing my words with the world just 8 months prior. For this, I am eternally grateful, and I welcome all new readers - you may stay as long as you like. And while this milestone is meaningful to me, there is a sense of guilt that lingers in my heart, as my effort and commitment has been slacking - although I promise you that I have been writing in my head and in my day-to-day experience during the entire duration of this unprompted hiatus - I simply need to put pen to paper, which is the worst part of this strange craft we call writing. So I will do just that - there is no shortage of source material. Stay tuned folks, as there is still plenty to be said.
The words that follow are a contribution to this month’s edition of the Soaring Twenty Social Club’s monthly Symposium, with the topic being “the beach” for this particular installment.
In the bleak midsummer, sultry wind made moan, I had been summoned into my greatest battle yet at the wee hours of the July night; and so I battened down my hatches, laced up my undergarments, strapped on my polished, knightly armor, grabbed my trusty saber, and marched down the sandy stairs towards the shores of North Myrtle Beach.
I had received a drunk text from my sworn enemy.
Simple. Five words, one misspelled comically wrong, and the time stamp says it all brother. Hate is a fire that burns one-hundred thousand times brighter and stronger than adoration, and the flames only rise higher when you douse her with cheap plastic bottle liquor and Backwoods spliffs.
As I trundled down the rotting wooden front porch stairs, I glanced back once more at the shithole we called home for the previous five days. Years and years ago, this place would’ve been a roadside inn only the greasiest and most shameless weary travelers would dare step foot in, and for that reason, I had much respect for her. A musty, nasty cunt she was, one that I could not wait to rid myself of, but also one I would long for as I packed my bags and returned home.
The night was calm, and the beach was just a block away, so I had little time to gather my thoughts before I entered the den of wolves. It’s funny when you find yourself in a large group of friends who are mostly amicable, except for the one person who manages to bring out the worst of your inherent flaws. We cannot escape; if we do, it is the end of all friendships within the social circle, so we stare at each other across the table, with our fingers hovering over the big red buttons of mutually assured destruction, and we poke and jab at each other enough to rustle the feathers, but not enough to set fire to our worlds.
What felt like an eternity had only been a few moments of trudging across the gravel parking lot and then North Ocean Boulevard, to get to the public access point, which was a rickety boardwalk with a sand shower for your feet that marked the entrance to the beach. I peered through the mysterious fog that had appeared on that otherwise calm and cool night, and through the wispy clouds, I could see her silhouette standing there at the end of the path, waiting patiently for her nemesis to arrive so we could lock horns and butt heads. I could have stopped and put a million arrows through the sky and into her cold heart, but when I looked up to the stars, Orion’s satchel was empty, and his bow was broken, so I continued on, weaponless and defenseless, after laying down my arms under the dripping footwash.
She was wearing - oh fuck off, who cares what she was wearing. Probably some dumb college sweatshirt for all I care. I was there to do one thing, and one thing only. As I neared closer and closer, she just stared at me with a blank, emotionless expression, and for all I know, she could have been Medusa, but the last time I was at the doctor, they told me my heart was still made of flesh and not stone. What a relief.
I didn’t know what else to say besides hey, and she echoed the word back, as we began our journey north along the murky, brown waters of the mid-Atlantic.
“Do you know why we hate each other?”
No, I don’t know. Perhaps it is because we are the same person - manic, controlling, wound tighter than a drawn bridge, and cute enough to carry a lethal dose of arrogance. We both were the main character, but we all know that makes for poor TV.
“I just wish we had gotten along”
As do I, but damned souls have no recourse in a world where absolution ceases to exist. I actually think if we had gotten along better, our work would have suffered. Running a newspaper is no easy task, even if it is for fun. The stakes were low, and yet we both found ourselves taking the task at hand way too Goddamned seriously. But I suppose the rewards were worth it. Arguing over moot grammar points and page formatting. It was good fun.
“We secretly love each other”
Maybe, but love isn’t the end all be all that we make it out to be. I love my friends, I love my family, I love the sport of football, I love Spaghetti Carbonara - do those all mean the same thing?
Walks along the beach have a way of extracting all thoughts, feelings, twisted notions, sinister premonitions, and otherwise incoherent musings from your mind. We had only traveled about a quarter mile at that point, but we might as well have walked from Cape Town to Magadan. Of course, there were others out there with us as well to keep us company - other drunk teenagers, reeling after another shot of UV Blue; weird metal detector guys scouring the sand for forsaken trinkets; lonely divorced moms looking for hope in the endless reflection of the moon upon the crashing waves (damnit, I told myself I would write this without using the phrase “crashing waves”, but I have failed). We’re all out late, wandering about in search of nothing, taking in what her highness Mother Nature has to offer, no matter how trashy or rambunctious the location. In my case, I was searching for closure, and I soon sensed she was too. The ramblings and theorizing trailed off, and we both grew silent. I knew what had to be done.
Just off in the distance, there was another entryway to the beach, and we made our way to the stairs that graced the surface of the sand. On those stairs, I sat down, and she did too, and we just stared at each other and then the ocean and then back at each other. And I’m sure I felt something, but whatever that feeling was has since fled the universe and buried itself in a time capsule for another day. Blue eyes, blonde hair, can’t lose. One final glance, and my arms wrapped around that stupid college sweater as I leaned in for a kiss. And we kissed, and we kissed again, and we felt the warmth of each other’s hatred and animosity stab deep into our flesh, and for a second, I thought things might be alright.
But then I pulled away, and she was gone with the sultry wind of the bleak midsummer, and the only trace I had of her was a white chalk outline on those wooden stairs, where her body had laid just seconds before.
I said, "ooh, girl
Shock me like an electric eel
Turn me on with your electric feel"
Archer with no Arrows