“Sweet Creature” by Harry Styles plays from a car stereo. It is nighttime.
A large octopus, purple or orange, rises above dark ocean waves and scans its eyes across a blank horizon. What is and is not a creature? Dark curtained shadowed night. Water, surprisingly warm. Sea air smells of salt and marine brine. Wind whips and creamy foam pushes from the surf, inhaling and exhaling out on the beach, accompanied by rocks and shells that will cut your feet like glass if you dare to walk across from the dunes. Creatures of the night, creatures of the deep. It’s easy to pretend to not know what we can’t see. But if we lend our minds to imagine what our sight cannot provide us, we will find our hearts beating a little harder, our minds racing a little faster, and our palms accompanied by an everlasting sheen of sweat on a mildly humid summer night; A night where the wind cuts through the humidity and allows you to breathe just a little deeper.
Small shrimp and other crustaceans crawl on the bottom floor of the ocean. Timidly walking; carefully. Coral bubbles and kelp sways side to side as the current brushes alongside it. There is peace below the ocean floor tonight. No predators lurk, no volcanic eruptions or deep sea quakes. My heart is at rest and can sense no danger. I will allow myself this brief vacation and say that I have earned this peace, and acknowledge that this peace will not be forever. Because this is not heaven and I am not dead. I am an emotional EKG readout in real time.