My Weight at the Bay Today
By Kelly Dean
I went to the bay near Bokeelia today. I felt drawn for some reason. Even the mundane felt insane: anxiety meets maudlin. I had to get away.
So I took a short drive and ate at a little beach diner. I had the fried mullet. I flirted with the waitress. I flirted with a talkative lady from New Jersey. I flirted with her dog. I think it was her dog. I even pretend-flirted with myself in the bathroom mirror. The dark lighting made me look younger and the drink made me feel clever.
Afterwards, I walked across the sand to the waterline.
The wind was fast and westerly, blowing about 30 knots — so the bay had whitecaps and foam and the air smelled of wet sea grass, which had accumulated in a long roll along the waterline below the seawall in front of me.
The tide was up, so I sat on a bench facing the bay; eyes mostly closed with afternoon sun glowing warmly; wind blowing on my whiskery face. My stubble felt different in the wind: It kind of felt like stroking hands or maybe the soft breath of a lover. I’d always thought I was too old for new sensations. Maybe it wasn’t really new, but I couldn’t remember. So it felt new.
The whitecaps looked menacing in the distance, with their light on dark ridges and curls, like sharp furrows on a bluish-colored field. But it was deceiving. I felt at ease actually. The sunny and bright blue sky defied the threatening water surface: like trumpets defy the timpani of an orchestra. A flat sea is not very interesting. A scary sea is never scary without a dark sky atop.
The gulls could hover in the wind without effort, and when the dive-bombing pelicans hit the water for fish 10 yards away, water splashed into the air as well. Carried by the strong wind, it made a salty mist, hitting me in the face, delayed, in a rhythmic pattern: hit, wisp, splash — hit, wisp, splash — over and over. There were so many birds taking advantage of the schooling fish blowing up toward the shore, they were simply taking turns diving as not to collide into each other.
It was neither hot nor cold. The wind had no temperature. It actually felt like I was floating. There was no one else on the shore — or on the planet. I sat there; seconds, minutes, hours, eons — minutes actually. I don’t know. I didn’t matter. I’m floating.
I sighed the soloist’s sigh.
This is the time for my mission, I thought. This is the time. There’s always a time. And this is it.
It’s time for the weight.
There is a weight. There is always a weight. And the weight is always negative but feels heavy, yet it is actually lighter than air. This weight is weird. It steals the wind from a person’s heart. It wrinkles the back of the tongue and blurs the eyes. Everyone has this weight to some degree. And my weight is particularly heavy today.
The weight takes up space and I just don’t want to carry it anymore.
Taking deep breaths, I ask for the weight to be carried away with my breathing, and the blowing wind, which by then feels like it is blowing straight through me — as I float, as the wind and water hit my face.
“Please, just take it away from me. Just take it away. I don’t want it. Please take it away.”
Then it left me.
And that was my visit to the bay today.