There was a vague sadness clinging to the stiff morning air. It wasn’t cool, but it should have been. It should have chilled his bones. It should have bitten his fingers so harsh they force retreat to stave off the pain and rigidity. The sun had risen, the golden light swelling across the horizon. The effervescent light refracted in his eyes, caused rainbows and geometry to flash before him. They reminded him of the ghosts he’d lived with. The sullen guilt and shame he’d summoned long ago. He thought about the mystic’s gentle words that sung to him about enlightenment. How she synced with his life back then and recited the hidden wisdoms that mocked him. That ultimately paralyzed him. The ghosts were beautiful. Prismatic diamond white, rainbow sheen. Faint and fleeting.
Fuck the sun.
The ocean glimmered before him. The whitening light glistening off crest and crease. He came here before, the point where sky met water. It had become a ritual, an annual retreat he attended. He wasn’t the first, but he carried it on diligently. It was a segment of his personal history he’d hold dear. Summoning the sun on Christmas morning. Watching with the light. He never found himself to be esoteric, but he knew he thought differently. He found himself surrounded by people different in their own way, their perspectives waited and respected. Sometimes insecurity welled up, but he pushed through it with a pretentious confidence. Sometimes it was laughable. But that’s where he found his strength to push past it. He found himself alone on the beach, encircled in a private bubble, a round of energy that isolated him from everything in the universe. Alone. He listened to the silence. Not even the rush of waves penetrated the sphere. He felt the warmth of the sun. The light unavoidable. It comforted and pacified.
This would probably be the last time he went. A decade of returns in observance of the sun. It rose in the west on these shores. He never understood the mechanics of it, but such was the perception held by all. There was something backwards about the beach, and the dirty water it held. He looked at the ripples as they curved and crashed into the sea wall. He listened to the splash and slosh of the water. The sounds of the beach returned. The sea gulls repetitive call, a breeze blowing in his ears, the distance static of ocean waves. The voice of friends.
“Are you done, Nev?” the voice was calm. Nev glanced to the side, his face remained forward.
“Do you want me to be?” he felt a spark of rebellion in him.
“Do you always have to challenge?” The voice peaked a bit. It caught Nev’s attention. He grinned subtly.
“There’s something different this year,” he started, but his voice trailed off. He turned to his friend whom had entered Nev’s protective bubble.
“Everything is changing, Neville. We’ve done what we came to do.”
“You know how I told you where I was. You know, in the grand scheme of things?”
“Yeah. There’s gonna be at least one more.”
“I’d certainly hope so.” Neville’s friend paused and added, “but you know we’re safe for now.”
Neville stared out to the ocean again. He became mesmerized by the glistening light that danced on its surface. For miles a field of electric light dazzled across the horizon. It illuminated specters across his face more radiant that the sunlight. The warm winter settled distinguished from the others, a mark of something different for the future he had planned. The visions and paranoia dreamed up by the many had fallen away, the fears of the masses buried with the old world separate from the new.