The belly of sadness is full today
Above it, small dogs sink their teeth into stomach, chest, they shake their jaws madly and frenetically back and forth, back and forth, an agony of clenching. Breath comes short, shoulders rise, the world runs on outside of, despite these small dogs and this whale of grief lying still below them.
Once L. and I were walking on the beach and came upon a dead whale— it was bloated and sandy and prone, flies walked along the length of its body, grey and dark and abandoned. This sadness is always there, lives in me like that beached, lonely body. Some days the waves uncover it, I can't skirt its girth on the sand.
If I stop— if I sit and truly look at it—the rough texture of its sandpapered skin, the glazed eyes, the way sand has streaked dune-patterns over its body—I see that the sadness is nothing new, and nothing unique. The sadness holds loneliness in its wet hands like gauzy cloth, or the thinnest of tissue paper: tearing open, falling apart with the tiniest motions. The sadness says, you are alone, you will always be alone, here on this grey beach with the waves lapping in their incessant whispers: empty empty empty. Here on this beach that stretches as far as you can see, with no other bodies but this one, decaying and abandoned.
The sadness says, no matter how close anyone else comes, they can't cross these dunes, walk down this barren stretch of sand, they can't hear these waves whispering to you, can't see how the sky is
matte and low and grey, and stretches down until it swallows the edges of the sea.
But sitting here, looking at this sandpaper skin, these glazed-over, milky eyes, I think: this sadness isn't special, this beach is not the only beach. I think: all of us carry these empty bodies, these desolate expanses of sand, these waves that whisper and whisper and whisper, this sky that promises nothing.
This place that swears to us it is the only place, the most real place, the place that will one day swallow us whole. This place that sings its song of haunting, sings to us in a voice no one else can hear, sings us onto the sand.