Using my hand to shield the flame that flickers, wavers, yet continues to fight to cling to the top of my lighter against an oceanic wind that sweeps across the shores of Dockweiler Beach, I hold it up. Raise it until it kisses the end of a joint protruding from the between the lips of an acting student.
As she inhales, I take a pull on an American Spirit while the two of us stand next one another. Side by side. Shadows touching. As our feet planted against the wet sand. Still. As we gaze out at the dunes, ripples of indents left behind by the violent onset and retreat of crashing water. Gaze out at the silhouettes of isles. Of hills. Hardly visible, all but faded against the backdrop of night. A canvas of stars sprayed. Dispersed. Gathered like glimmering dust that rains down. Only to be lost. Drowned amongst the torrential, devouring roar of waves from an ocean to deep, to dark, for us to see.
Still, we look on. Look on, even though all we can do is listen.
So I listen. As she tells me about her childhood. About her mother. And then she listens. When I talk about my childhood. About my mother. How she use to play the piano. How her fingers would dance, waltz. Stroke the keys like the finest, most delicate bristles at the end of a brush. Twirling, gliding, and painting a tune from Mozart. Chopin. Debussy. "The Nocturnes". "Claire de Lune". How I would lie awake and listen. Like she and I, as we listened to waves. The gentle, rapturous melody stirring the hairs lining the inside of my ears before briskly slipping past my eardrums. Descending into the deepest, most hidden, and oldest caverns of my mind when the notes seep between my pours, slipping into my bloodstream. Flowing until it ventures through every vessel. Until at last, it sails, and sets foot within the hollowest, the most empty chamber of my heart. With a touch of its hand, the muscular walls become immersed beneath its refrain. Until it refrains. From beating when I turn to my clock. Watching as the last strings that bray slow with each passing of the second hand. Even as my mother's melody does not cease with that which makes me breath. Beat. Closing my eyes, my world, my childhood, my past passes. Fading, and crumbling into dust that glimmers on a canvas full of dispersing stars...
That rain down. Long drowned. Now lost among the waves. In the ocean. She can't. I can't. We can no longer listen to our mothers. Their songs. Their pianos. For all we see are silhouettes. Of hills. Of isles. When we listen. To the sound. The sound of the dark. The deep. As we look on.