I hate the beach.
I hate the scorching hot sun that dries me like a piece of seaweed,
The salt that clings to my nose and tongue,
The rough, magnetic sand that follows me home and that I can never get rid of.
But most of all,
I hate knowing that I am on the edge of the continent,
That I am standing at the end,
And all that is ahead of me is the wild ocean.
I can only go forward,
But the path is flooded.
I am not afraid of the ocean,
Or so I keep repeating to myself,
But I am unnerved by it.
All I can see are shark fins,
real or imaginary,
circling the coasts and boats,
waiting for me to make the wrong move,
reminding me that there are dangers lurking beneath the waves
that are older than the very land I stand on.
Never mind the dreams I have.
It is much easier to pretend I am satisfied
By what I already have than to take the plunge.
The murky depths promise something sinister.
But not all of us view the ocean the same.
My parents saw pink and orange coral reefs,
Aquamarine water, glistening skies,
Lucky dolphins and whales swimming beside them.
And whenever they encountered sharks,
They turned them into soup
And drank heartily.
They teach me how to butcher the sharks,
How to season the broth.
They hand me the harpoon they never had.
But I am not brave.
I want to stay rooted,
Grounding myself into the sand I hate so much.
I want to toss the harpoon aside,
Head home to where it is safe.
I want to believe that I am content
Watching everyone run into the water,
I want so many things.
One day, I will be able to face the ocean
The way my parents did,
But for now,
Walking out to the tide with bated breath
Is good enough.
By Ann Lin
Ann Lin is a second-year Psychology major who spends too much reading and daydreaming. She does, in fact, hate the beach.