Red Writing Hood: Salt Water

“Please,” I said, through tears.  Salty, danger-on-the-highway-inducing tears.  “Please let’s just take this exit.  We can go to the beach.”

I didn’t really expect him to say yes, I just needed to fight.

“You know I can’t” he said, looking out of the window transfixed as the exit for Half Moon Bay passed us by.

Maybe he was having the same memory I was.

The show had closed that morning. We got on the road and headed to The Cove. A place most often visited illicitly at night, in large numbers, by high-on-hormones teens with no fear of falling down cliffs in the dark on the way to the beach.

The path down into The Cove was so different in the daylight, somehow more treacherous.  Like the time that was eroding around us — soon he would have to go back to school, to Ohio.

We talked.  Mostly though, we just sat, his arm around me, our faces burnished by wet ocean wind, salt crystalizing on our skin.

Until, that is, we saw The Man.

The Man who proceeded to take all his clothes off except for his pith helmet.  Who then climbed up the giant rock in front of us, and posed in front of the setting sun.


In profile.

And I laughed.  No, I giggled — unstoppable giggles that came from the place where hurt twists and takes hostage all reason.

He didn’t giggle.

And then he was gone.

I sat in an off-airport parking lot and cried my own Pacific, the tears whittling away cliff faces in my heart, the salt saturating my memories like a preservative.

When I came to my senses, I was in possession of something new.  My own personal Cove.

The place where I will always be the naked one amid sunsets and salt.

This non-fiction piece was brought to you by Red Writing Hood at Write on Edge. The prompt requested a piece about healing and salt water. This was also inspired by a post about nude beaches at Life in Heels & Flip Flops.  I don’t know how well I illustrated the healing nature of my own “personal Cove”, we’ll see what you think.  This was originally MUCH MUCH longer, and I had to sacrifice a lot of context to meet the 300-word limit.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood


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17 Comments on “Red Writing Hood: Salt Water”

  1. le chef Says:

    The visuals .. and not just the nude profile, were spot on! I loved it! Eroding time, high-oh-hormones, crying a Pacific and cliff faces in your heart – GENIUS! I absolutely love the way you played with these words.


  2. AmyBeth Inverness Says:

    Terrifying that this is non-fiction! Terrible that his solution was saltwater… to end his life.

    …or did I read something into it that wasn’t there?

    But excellent job of sacrificing to keep the 300 word limit!


    • Venus Says:

      Ohmygosh! No, actually, my boyfriend at the time just had to get on a plane to go back to university in Ohio. The man on the beach just seemed to want to pose naked, which was a happy memory. However, I can now see how you’d get suicide from what I wrote…. I wish I could take credit for that, but it was unintentional. 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting and for the kind comment!


  3. shelton keys dunning Says:

    You never fail to impress. I love your line “cried my own Pacific”. Brilliant.


  4. Gayletrini Says:

    Oh I like that line ‘cried my own Pacific’.
    the naked guy was a hilarious touch. I thought suicide too at first but decided no it wasn’t that.
    nice description


    • Venus Says:

      Yeah, it was hard to believe the naked guy actually did that… the whole posing, the pith helmet… it was all real! Who could ask for more for blog fodder?? Thanks for the kind comment!


  5. Shannon W. Says:

    Fabulous – all the angst and the then and now movement is just brilliant. That salt water – it really does move us in and out of ourselves


  6. lorithatcher Says:

    I get the “need” to fight when he’s going away. Nice piece. Yeah, 300 words is indeed a challenge.


    • Venus Says:

      Hi Lori, I’m glad that line resonated with you. I struggled at first how to describe that part, but I guess I managed to get it right! 🙂


  7. adventures in alyssaland Says:

    “I sat in an off-airport parking lot and cried my own Pacific, the tears whittling away cliff faces in my heart, the salt saturating my memories like a preservative.”

    Beautiful. A lot of tears.


  8. Kristina Says:

    I loved this whole thing, but the line that stuck out to me was: “… I just needed to fight.” I hate that feeling, but can totally identify with it.


  9. Anastasia Says:

    A great job showing the disconnect, not just telling us.


  10. Cameron Says:

    I think you’ve presented a full picture here, despite struggling with cutting it. It feels… distilled?

    And the feeling of needing to fight? Oh yes.


    • Venus Says:

      I’ll take “distilled” :-). You’re the second commenter to really like that line, it makes me very happy as I really wasn’t sure I’d communicated that correctly. Thanks as always for the comments!


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