Maybe it was the way the meeting ended the evening before, or maybe it was the agonizing headache he bore since this morning. Regardless, he was fuming with a fire that could not be extinguished; a fire that kept flaring inside him the more he thought, burning everything in his way. It was a hot summer day, unusually sunny even for a coastline city. His shoulders were sunburnt, but his forehead was distinctly red, probably owing to his raging ache. The sun’s warmth fuelled his flame.
It was not like him to be this moved by something. In life, he had learned to let things slide past. After all, his grandmother had told him, that in the strong currents of the river of life, what is significant and heavy remains put on the river-bed, while the unimportant and light are plunged forward by the force of being. But now, he found himself clinging on to the very bedrock, trying to forcibly shift the current, so he could choose what stays and what does not. He was desperately attempting to be his own force of being. His grandmother, however, was not around to tell him that it was a bad idea, and so he blazed forward, his firestorm growing by the minute. He entered his office where the glass wall behind his table offered a picturesque view of the eastern beach. The ocean’s sight was breathtaking, and any person would have definitely stopped to soak in the view. Contrastingly, he immediately pulled the blinders and sat down on his chair in the dark. The sunlight was upsetting him; there was enough warmth in him from what was boiling inside.
“Anger is a bad virtue”, said Lina, his co-worker, walking inside the dark office, barely lit by what was left of the sunlight the blinders couldn’t obstruct. He refused to look her in the eye, and answered with his back turned, “Leave.” He was breathing fire.
“Let’s take a walk.” She signaled outside. He obviously did not follow. “I have something to show you. It’s about the deal.” He followed.
They walked next to the shoreline, under the shady palm tree leaves where the sun’s scorching light couldn’t sting them. For the first time in weeks they experienced a silence. A silence, in which you could hear his blood boiling in his nerves, but his mouth refused to turn that sound into words. What was left to say?
“I’m sorry we didn’t get the deal. I know it was important to you, but to be honest, we had told you it was practically impossible and we tried our best, but we knew it was an astronomical, one in a million shot. You’ve spent the past weeks working night and day ever since you heard about it… Have you even thought about her yet, without bringing up the permit?”, her voice slowly faded. He looked at the sky. “Is that what you wanted to show me?” he fired. She responded immediately, “No, I wanted to show you the view,” and she pointed straight ahead, to the ocean. He observed the view and exhaled. He looked carefully near the horizon and observed a tint of blue in the otherwise sunny, golden sky. The light blue merged with the darker sea-line and the different shades of the color gently contrasted against each other. Silence fell again, but this time, the sound of the ocean’s waves, crashing against the Earth and then rising again, filled their ears.
“It’s not what she would have wanted. I got so caught up with trying to secure the place where she was born that I didn’t realize that she was truly gone. Somewhere in my mind, I really thought securing that house would make everything alright somehow,” he said, his voice slowly cracking at the end and a thin film of tears forming over his brown eyes.
“She was your grandmother. How long will you keep punishing yourself?”, she asked gently. His head suddenly turned to her, and away from the ocean. It was a question that seared his every waking thought, his dreams, and everything in between.
He turned his face back towards the ocean. The sunlight was slowly fading. A cool breeze brushed against his face, his forehead cooled, and his pain subsided. As another wave crashed into the beach sand, a voice whispered inside him “I cannot control the tide.” The sun dove into the ocean, and the noontide orange soon turned into a cool dark blue. His fury dissolved. The decision was already made – the state had refused to hand over the land where his grandmother was born- and there was nothing left to do. “You can honor her memory by listening to her,” Lina said.
“My grandmother is right. I cannot be the force of being,” he said and took one last glimpse of the ocean.
Walking back under the stars, with each step sinking in the chilled sand, they left.