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The air smells of a sickly, sweet scent. It consists of a mixture of aromas. The doughy smell of warm pretzels, the refreshingly, sweet scent of ice cream, and the savory scent of dinner from the many restaurants. I stand thinking of the time when I used to love this place. The scenery, the cuisine, the people. It wasn’t much but it was enough for me at the time. That seems like ages ago. I pace the soft sand along the beach as the sun hazes across the horizon. I revel in the sounds of children splashing in the water, people laughing as they walk along the boardwalk, and music blaring from the many shops. It’s all so familiar yet so foreign to me. I thought coming back here would give me the answers I’m looking for.
I take a b-line straight to my favorite spot on the pier that overlooks everything and let my mind wander into the abyss of memories that no matter how hard I try to shove down, they continue to take up my mental capacity. Her face. The smooth curves of her cheek bones and the subtle edges along her jawline. The rosy color of her lips. The deep hues of brown in her eyes as they blend from light to dark. Her touch. The gentle caress of my chin as she stares into my eyes. Her soft yet firm lips against mine as she traces my spine with her fingertips. Her scent. The sweet fragrance of vanilla and jasmine that fills my nose whenever I breath her in. The coconut smell in her hair from her shampoo that makes me fall head-over-heels for her. It all still lingers as if she’s sitting right next to me. The treacherous thoughts flood my mind like a dam that’s just been broken and now all the animosity is spilling out and it won’t stop. It takes everything in me not to burst into tears right here and now. Because I hate confrontation so much, I’ve let all of my emotion build up for so long that I’m starting to crumble because of it. So much so that I’ve convinced myself that being here will solve all of my problems. I’m thinking of what I could possibly be getting myself into by being here. Starting with whatever is waiting for me at my mom’s house. The house where every tragic moment has ever happened to me has taken place.
I count backwards from ten as I take a deep breath in letting the salty scent of the ocean fill my nostrils as I allow the smell to encapsulate me in the moment. I lowly breathe out and flutter my eyes open to watch as the sun fades into the horizon, releasing an array of oranges and yellows into the sky. The sand glistens in the red-orange hues and as the breeze blows warm air through my hair, for an instance, I feel free. I feel like everything is going right in my world and it makes me feel…safe. I don’t think that’s a word I have frequented in describing my attitude towards my life. At least, not after my mom died. I need to stop before I tumble down yet another hole. The last thing I need is to have a mental breakdown in public in front of these passing strangers who are trying to happily live their own lives. She’s been dead for two years now and I cry about it like the funeral was yesterday.
I take a few more seconds before hauling myself up and onto the path that leads back to my mom’s beach house. I take in the multicolored houses that line the beach and recall riding my bike down this very path every summer with my friends when I was little. It was such a different time back then. Being a kid with not a care in the word and no worries. I miss it. I never wanted to leave. I told my mom I would inherit the house and grow old in it, keeping it up to pass down to my children. So she wrote me in her will to inherit it like she promised. The thing about that is, my older brother thought he was going to inherit the house. You know, because he’s older. That was before he left after our dad moved back in with us. And the yelling started happening. Now that she’s gone, I’m left with telling him that it’s mine and deciding what to do with it. I pace up the steps and take a deep breath before stepping into the hell that I call my life.