The Inspiration behind this post.
When writing this post, the feelings and emotions of the character flowed out me and to the keyboard. I really enjoy writing these scenes because it felt so real. Everyone has felt at one time or another, like life is too much to handle sometimes. Our pain can manifest in many different ways: lashing out at people, lashing out at ourselves, and sometimes the pain can be so overwhelming that it just spills over and we can’t control it like it is with this character.
She drove mindless down the road to the nearest grocery store. She felt like a true California girl as she entered the store and noticed all the sun-bleached blond hair scattered around the store. She wandered through the aisles grabbing cooking and baking ingredients alike. She looked around store and smiled to herself at the sight of all the customers wearing flip-flops and the same brand of black shades. She passed the junk food aisle feeling a temptation for a big bag of frosted pink animals cookies. The frosted animal cookies brought back childhood memories of her parents giving her the cookies for dessert while telling her stories about their life in Israel. They would now be memories of her parents, of stories told. She made her way to the produce aisle where she picked out the freshest and most colorful looking batch of tomatoes, carrots, apples, grapes and lettuce.
She was finding the freshest batch of lettuce when she felt her hands begin to tremble. She quickly paid for her items and left the store. She rushed to her car tossing the bags in the back seat. Attempting to lower her soaring heart rate, she gripped her hands on the steering wheel, focusing on the ocean horizon. Although she knew from experience that the more you try to push the past aside, the more they come to the surface.
“Hey. Is everything okay?” She looked up to see David standing above her with grocery bags in hand. “I saw you in the store but you left so abruptly that I didn’t have a chance to say ‘hi’.”
“Yeah. I just have to get out of here.” Zehira replied trying to turn the keys in the ignition despite her shaking hands. David suddenly understood the circumstances and placed his bags in her backseat. Being a doctor he studied the psychology of the mind. Knowing that these were not regular emotions and feelings, he opened the driver’s door.
“Okay. You are in no shape to drive. Move over.” Zehira obeyed moving to the passenger seat. David took control over the situation by climbing in the driver’s seat and peeling out of the parking lot. He would glance over at Zehira every few minutes who seemed to be numb despite the vacant eyes and shaking hands. He finally pulled over to an empty beach spot. Before David had even turned off the car, Zehira threw open the door and sprinted toward the water. David took off running after her.
The hurt she felt within was too much for her to handle. The memories proved too real and painful. She reached the water, slowing her down. She stopped just long enough to vomit into the surf. Once the her stomach was empty, she continued into the water. When she had reached waist deep water, David caught up to her. He reached out and grabbed her by the arm before she went too far out. He took hold of her waist keeping Zehira close.
“Hey, it going to be okay.” He said taking the numb Marine in his arms. He stroked her hair and back in efforts to bring life back into her.
Suddenly, she felt like she just didn’t want to do it anymore. The hurt, the memories, the loneliness, it all felt too much. Her legs gave out. David had quickly caught her before she went under. He held her up with his hands on her rib cage. She collapsed into his arms, feeling his strong and tanned arms keep her from sinking into the cold water. David stood there holding Zehira, swaying with the rolling tide as the water broke under their feet. Her head pressed against his cotton shirt.
They stayed there waist deep in the cold southern California ocean until Zehira came back to the present. As the unbearable pain subsided into a heavy, dull ache in her chest and strength came back to her legs, Zehira wrapped her arms around David’s own waist. It was a long time until she felt that she could stand up on her own. David waited in the cold numbing water for her hands to stop trembling until he gently led her away from the breaking waves and to the sandy shore. The seagulls cried overhead and soared through the salty air before coming to a halt on the wet sand. They sat down at the shore line, Zehira’s eyes fixated on the empty blue water before them.
“You want to share with me?” He spoke gently, one hand in hers.
“I just… I feel like I’m being swallowed by the memories.” She managed to get out. He enclosed his hands in hers.
“Memories from being over there?”
She nodded in response. “It just feels like there is no way out. No way to stop the hurt.” She dropped her head to her chest as if in embarrassment. David lifted her chin to look in her eyes.
“I’m here. And if I may say so myself, I have impeccable timing.” He chuckled attempting to lighten the mood.
“I can’t put this on you.” She whispered.
David spoke softly: “There is no way I am letting you go through this alone. No one should have to go through this alone. Besides my part-time job as a doctor, my life in comically boring. Nothing in my life is exciting or new. That is until you came along. You have made life new and exciting again.” David brushed the wavy hair out of her face and pushed it behind her ear. Zehira looked in his blue eyes.
“Really?” She seemed to ask in disbelief.
“I promise.” He pulled her closer to him and wrapped his arm around her shoulder and looked off into the beginnings of a sunset. Zehira in turn rested her head on his strong shoulder.