THE day had worn away at me. I needed a place to be myself, somewhere without worries where everything was serene. I found myself at Plum Island Beach in Massachusetts.
I strolled to the end of the boardwalk, stood there in the haunting moonlight, and watched the ocean stretch its foamy fingertips up toward the peaks of the sand dunes.
Fragile shells scattered the shoreline, like freckles on a child's bronzed face. I sprinted to the water's edge and slowed to a walk.
Wandering by the shore, I felt the waves pouncing on the sand, rumbling and roaring like thunder. Sand crunched and then gave way under my soggy toes, and suddenly the soft caress of a carefree wave swept across my feet before being sucked back into the ocean. The smell of the salty sea air was lifted with a breeze and flung itself into my lungs.
I fought the rushing surge of waves into the water and floated on my back. A puny, dull fish swam into my arm.
My wandering hand settled on a live clam, and when I picked it up, it spit on me. Wiping the sandy water mixture from my dirt-streaked face, I trudged back to shore.
Seaweed wove itself about my ankles. Waves rolled forward, bowed, and retreated, dragging along sand from under my feet, as if I were their queen.
As I bent down to wash my hands, a wave slapped me in the face, and I gulped salt water, gagged, and toppled over. For a moment, I was completely submerged. During that short, peaceful instant, I knew that Plum Island was my home.