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Stones

by Jonathan Miciano 4 years ago in happiness
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"I’m telling you, it’s all in the motion..."

“I’m telling you, it’s all in the motion.” She holds the stone in her hand and winds her arm back. Knees bent, eyes squinted, and focused on the water. Then, almost as graceful as it is forceful, she chucks the smooth, edgeless stone at the surface of the water and watches it skip.

“One, two, three, four, five... boom! That’s the highest I’ve ever gotten. It’s pretty good, right?” she says.

“That might just be the best I’ve ever seen,” he says.

“It’s all in the motion my friend,” she repeats. “Side arm, wrists loose, aimed and ready. You get those down, and you’ll be skipping stones like a pro just like me.”

He laughs. “That is the dream.”

She scans the sand around them for another stone. Instead of helping, he continues to stare at the waves, his eyes following each one as it crashes to the shore.

All of a sudden he hears the snapping of fingers and turns to see her on her knees, her other hand skimming the sand for more stones. “Come on, help me find some more,” she says. “Are you in another trance again?”

“I just like watching the waves. It’s calming.”

“You’re still the sappiest person I’ve ever known,” she jokes. “It’s the ocean. It’s water. Water you can’t drink, evidently.”

“I like to think of myself as sentimental,” he responds.

“Whatever you say, sap master,” she jokes. She digs her hands into the sand only to jerk it back towards her. “Bingo!”

He bends down a little to see what she’s holding. “A sand crab?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You’re going to try and skip a sand crab into the water?”

“What? Of course not,” she responds. “We’re going to build it a little sand home.”

“We?” he laughs.

“Yeah, now get down here and help me out.”

“I think I’ll sit this one out,” he says, turning his attention back to the waves.

She puts the sand crab down and falls back, catching herself on her rear. Her arms are crossed, and she examines him carefully. “You’re still thinking about it?”

He nods.

“Look, I’m not saying it’s not important to think about, but that’s not what we came out here for. Remember?”

“I know,” he says, his voice wandering off. “But it’s huge, you know? Like it’s not something I can just avoid.”

“I know. It’s a big decision. And yeah, it’s anxiety-inducing, stomach turning, what have you. But look around you, it’s a beautiful day. You got your calming waves right here, the smell of the ocean, and our new friend.” She looks back at the sand to find the sand crab has left. “Don’t worry, there’s plenty of those little guys around here.”

“I get what you’re saying,” he says, “but it’s just something that can’t leave my mind no matter how hard I try. I really appreciate you taking me here to cheer me up, but it’s still in the back of my mind so matter what.

She sighs and makes her way up on her feet. She stands right beside him, watching the waves crash on the shore.

“Do you think life is supposed to be hard?” she asks.

He thinks for a minute. “I don’t know if it’s supposed to be, but it sure is.”

“Well then what do you think life should be like?”

“I don’t know... fun? Fulfilling? I would hope life would be more enjoyable than this.”

“Well why can’t it be?” she argues. She taps his chest with the back of her hand and points to the water. “Remember when we were skipping rocks?”

“You mean like two minutes ago?” he says sarcastically.

“Yes, jerk. Trust me when I say that there is no other high in this world like watching the smooth stone you threw skip a couple times across the water.”

“You obviously haven’t tried any other kind of high,” he jokes.

“I’m going to ignore you just said that,” she continues. “Skipping rocks is fun. I enjoy skipping rocks. If you could skips rocks like me, you’d enjoy it too.”

He doesn’t find this amusing, so she continues.

“But after about five skips, the rock sinks. Chances are, I’ll never see that rock again.”

“It’s probably for the best,” he adds.

“The point is,” she says, ignoring his comment, “I just did something fun and now it’s not fun anymore because the fun part is over. But what do I do next? Don’t actually answer that. That’s enough out of you, you downer.”

She looks down at the sand and picks up a stone.

“I find another stone, and I chuck it into the ocean and hope it skips, too.” She throws the stone into the ocean, and it plops right into the water.

“Well, it wasn’t your best,” he says.

“It wasn’t,” she responds, “and that’s okay! You know why? Because at least I got it to go in the water. I could have missed the water completely, even though it seems impossible to miss the water when there’s so much of it right in front of us.”

“I missed one time. One time,” he argues.

“I know, but it was hilarious and so I like bringing it up,” she says.

He finally laughs. “Fair enough.”

“So as I was saying, I’m having fun throwing rocks into the water. But you know what’s not fun? Having to drive you all the way back home after this.”

“Gee thanks,” he says.

“Oh relax, I’m just joking. It’s just for the sake of the analogy.”

He rolls his eyes.

“Anyways, I’m having fun throwing rocks into the ocean, but I know that eventually I’m going to have to stop and take you back home. And you live an hour away.”

“We both live an hour away.”

“And then there might be traffic and I know I don’t like traffic. That’s not fun. I don’t want to sit in traffic just trying to take you home. But I know it’s going to happen. And in the meantime, I’m going to have fun skipping rocks.”

“Okay,” he says, “I get what you’re trying to say, but you are going to have to take me home eventually. The fun doesn’t last.”

“No, it doesn’t,” she says. “But what can we do about it?”

“Nothing,” he sighs.

“Well, we can try and make it fun, can’t we? We can listen to music, play road trip games, you can tell me you’re deepest and darkest secrets. It doesn’t have to be such a daunting task.”

“I get it, okay?” he responds. “I have something I’m not looking forward to and I need to make the most of it. But what I’m facing isn’t like being stuck in traffic. It’s much more complicated than that.”

“It is if you let it,” she says. “Look, I know I can’t relate to your situation. I know my words could just be meaningless and I could have gone off on this tangent for nothing. But what can you do about it? The more you stare at the waves and refuse to skip rocks with me and build sand houses for our sand crab friends, does it heal you on the inside? Is this what feels good to you?”

“Of course not,” he retorts.

“Then stop,” she says. “You’re not having fun spacing out into the sight of these waves, so why do you continue to do it?”

“I have a lot on my mind,” he answers.

“You don’t think I have a lot on my mind? You think I don’t have anything that’s eating me up inside? We all do, but we don’t just mope around about it. We decide to make the most of our situations and have as much fun as we can, whenever we can.”

He remains silent.

She sighs. “I’m sorry, I’m not trying to disregard your feelings. I know it’s hard. I can’t say I relate, but I understand that it is hard.”

He looks down, disconnecting his focus on the waves. “I just want to enjoy my life already. I’m tired of waiting for things to get better.”

“I know you do,” she assures him. “I know I can’t make you feel better, but I’m just trying to help however I can.”

She sits down on the sand with her legs crossed. They remain silent for a couple minutes before he finally sits down in the sand next to her.

“Thank you for taking me here today,” he says.

“You’re welcome.”

They continue to look out at the waves as they speak.

“Do you want to go home now?” she asks.

He’s silent. He looks at the sand around him and skims his palms across the sand until he finally digs his fingers into the area next to him. He pulls out a stone the size of his palm with smooth, round edges.

“Will this work?”

She looks at the stone and smiles. “It should!”

He smiles back and gets up, helping her to her feet as well.

“Now remember, it’s all in the motion,” she reminds him.

“Yeah, yeah. I got it,” he jokes. He winds back and throws, releasing the stone from his grip. They watch the stone skip.

“One, two, three, four... not bad, rookie!” she exclaims.

“So close,” he says under his breath.

“Like I said, it takes years of practice to get to my level.”

They laugh and he rolls his eyes. They continue to stare at the waves.

“You know I hate symbolism,” he muses.

“Everyone hates symbolism. It’s pretentious.”

He nods in agreement and smiles. He feels something brushing against his foot and looks down to see a sand crab walking past his foot. He bends down to grab it and shows it to her.

“Look who came back.”

“Aww he looks tired,” she examines. “He could really use a place to rest.”

He smiles. “I agree. We should get to work now before the sun goes down. That’s got to be the universal sand crab bedtime, right?”

“Yeah, everyone knows that,” she agrees.

They get to work.

happiness

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Jonathan Miciano

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