Hunched over on my knees, I raise my head. I scan the western horizon praying that I’ll wake from this nightmare. The gut-wrenching fear would pass. Oh, that all this would be a terrible mistake.
Please Lord, oh please don’t allow it to be true.
I don’t even know how I got here. The sand is burning my feet. A mixture of tears, sand and sweat run down my face. I sense there are hands on my back and arms. Someone is whispering something about hope. I’m offered a plastic water bottle. I decline-I don’t want to miss the moment. Grains of sand grind as I try to swallow.
My eyes fill with tears again and I let my body fall prostrate. I grab one of the hands near me and squeeze it so hard it’s punctured. I raise my head a bit rubbing the blue and green spots out of my eyes. There’s not a cloud in the sky. How dare it shine so brightly tonight? I bang my bloody fist on the sand.
Many police cars are parked on the edge of the parking lot behind me, their blinding blue and red lights circling. Several coast guard boats are trolling slowly in front of me. The sun sinks lower, the water smooth like glass now. My mind reenacts the last hours again…
What if I had done something differently? What if I had said no? What if I would have called out at the right time? Guilt begins piling up like a sand-drift. A wave of fear falls over me. A ripple of panic wells up from the deep depth of my gut. Faith in a miracle is stuffed deep in my soul, but can’t quite come to the surface.
Then above me is the roar of a helicopter as it rushes from the east. It tears into my heart. Its presence makes the tragedy seem so true. Along with its intrusion, it brings a hope of removing the pain. The noise as it swoops over the piers takes my breath away.
The sunset has never been so plain. So sinking. The sun just slowly disappears without a trace of fanfare. The noise is deafening now. A friend is speaking something into my ear. My thoughts are in the water as the dusk settles in. The air remains stifling hot. The humidity lays on my skin and mixes with my tears and sweat.
A guttural sound emits from deep within me, which I slightly recognize. It’s a travail that I recognize from the birth, eighteen years ago. All the days following were adventurous. Could the pain again be followed with joy?
I begin to shiver as the full strawberry moon rises out of the corner of my eye on my left. The dampness of the last hours and the slight breeze as the helicopter circles again bring me a cool chill of sorrow.
Dear God, can you? Will you? Someone covers me with a heavy blanket. I rebel against the warmth and rise to my full height with my hands on my hips.
Moving closer to the water, I strain my ears now, willing that I hear a cry of victory. The beach had always been such a joyful and peaceful place. Tonight it was holding my most precious possession.
I knew she wasn’t mine. But she was mine. Oh God please!
Would the darkening cool water release her? Blurry-eyed, I keep striving to see a glimmer of hope. Something to hear. Something to see…
Through the moonlight, I see a group of people near me in a circle of prayer. Two are still on each side of me. The western sky still holds a slight orange.
I realize I am grasping a shirt to my chest with all my strength. It’s damp with sunscreen and her sweat. It smells like the sweetest perfume.
Dear God of miracles, bring me one tonight, and I’ll never ask you for anything else again for the rest of my life.
Again I fall to my knees with a heaving cry. I hold the shirt to my face as I lower it to the ground.
The swish of angels’ wings mix with a huge comforting voice as He holds my shoulders, “I will be with you through this.”
(Disclaimer: This story is fictional and based on the imagination of the author. It is not factual in nature.)