The water felt neither too cold nor too warm against her ankles. It was just perfect.
She loved the sweet-salty smell of the ocean. The sound of the waves against the rocks always filled her with an inexplicable calm. The beach was deserted and the zephyr was cool and playful. She felt at home there, like she always did. She could sit there for hours, with her knees close to her chest and her feet in the water.
The sky was still bluish-black. The faintest hint of orange began to appear. She came here often to watch the sun rise. With the sun there was no waiting, no anxiety and no hide and seek. It will show up soon enough, rising in its full glory and engulfing her in its warmth.
She watched the waves approaching with a slow melancholy. She stretched her palm out, waiting with an almost feverish excitement to feel the water against her palms. She closed her eyes as the cool and tingling sensation of the foamy water overpowered her. It was the shortest of moments before she felt the water recede away hastily, leaving her pained and abandoned. She didn’t know why but it made her think of her dad. She did not want to; so she quietly admonished herself and diverted her attention to the sky.
The first rays of dawn started to appear. Though she had watched the sun rise many times, it never stopped taking her breath away! She shared her happiest moments and her deepest anguish with the sea. She could clear her head there and have some respite.
The sun rose a little higher and she watched the sky change color. In a fleeting glance, everything looked just orange but she loved observing the multitude of other shades, which lied there hidden amidst the majestic orange. All the shades- from the palest of yellows to the brightest of reds!
The clouds seemed to be paying hide and seek around the rising sun and she could hear the chirping of the birds. The feel of a new day, with its infinite possibilities usually excited her, but not that day. Again she thought her dad. That silly fight they had earlier had been playing on her mind. Why was he so hard on her? When will she ever totally grasp how he felt about her?
She knew about all his unsaid feelings. He had loved her mother very dearly. When she died giving birth to her, he was left with a child whom he could never completely accept. It was not like he was nasty or hurtful. He did everything that was strictly expected of a parent but she always yearned for more. She constantly overworked herself to impress him, to earn his love, because she did not want him to think of her as a curse, as the monster that killed his wife.
He was not the kind of man who let his heart do the thinking. He did not believe in good night kisses or birthday rituals. He brought her up with all the values that he staunchly believed in. He treated her accomplishments and failures with the same composure. She felt that their relationship was full of complexities. It was something she always tried too hard to analyze.
She looked at the horizon. Yet again she was powerfully drawn to the scattered and thin lines of yellow, red and magenta. As she watched them slowly lighten and merge into the orange, she was suddenly overwhelmed with a strange feeling. Before she knew it, she could feel the tears welling up in her eyes. The ocean always gave her answers and she couldn’t believe she hadn’t seen it all along. It was like all the missing pieces of her life were coming together. She didn’t try to control the tears.
They were comforting tears of happy realization.
Now she could see it. It was all in her head and it had always been. Her constant need to earn his affection and the trepidation with which she treated every step in their relationship had blinded her from seeing the truth. Beneath that strict façade were the wonderful shades of affection and concern- the subtle shades that her fear and apprehension had hidden from her. Instead of accepting his ways of expressing his love, she assumed it was hatred! How could he hate her, when she was the only reminder he had left of his wife? How could he hate her when he had devoted his entire life to making her life comfortable?
The sun was shining bright now and she wiped the tears away as she got up. She had to get back home quickly; she had a lot of amendments to make!