There in the Ocean


When I was a little girl my Dad would always be the one to take me out, far into the ocean, and hold me up in the waves. It was scary and exciting and safe, all at once. And yesterday I held Olive’s hand in the salty summer air, the water saying hello and goodbye at our feet over and over again, and I remembered all of it. Sometimes my father feels so far away and other times, like yesterday, it’s like cleaning a smudge off a piece of crystal. There he is. I can recall his face, not the last one I saw, but the one I think of most. The one I sometimes was surprised not to see, when he was alive and older. Our parents get stuck in a way, at that age we can remember best. He was always in his 30s to me, short hair, sharp gray eyes, and a lined face from growing up in the Bolivian sun. Yesterday out there in the waves I thought of that. As the water came in and went out, as Olive ran and laughed with her feet slapping on the sand, as the sound of seagulls and seaplanes and children filled the spaces, I thought of my current self, and what my children will remember. And as I squinted towards the horizon at the bright, round sun, I thought about how out there in the ocean, my Dad didn’t feel quite so far away.