Recently, I had my heart broken by someone who I never thought would ever do so. And the past few months have been unquestionably rough. But the hardest part has been trying to find the hope and will to put myself out there again. I am a writer, and it is through words that I have built who I am. And I know that it is through words that I will rebuild what has been broken, to find myself, my smile, and my will again. Many times in life, it is the small things, the things we never expect, that gives us the greatest encouragement. And sometimes all it takes is something unexpected, to remind us how beautiful it is, to learn to love again.
The waves are softly crashing against my toes. Kissing them lightly with salt and sending a stream of goosebumps up my legs. I bite my lower lip, as the air begins to cool around me. The waves sing their lullaby as the moon watches over them silently. I love beaches, but even more at night. There is something serene about the way they all work together to create something beautiful.
Placing my hands on the soft sand, I push myself up. As I turn around, something shiny catches my eye. I walk over and see that a bottle has washed up on shore. It’s long, narrow, and opaque, resembling the bottles my mother used to keep, lined on our piano, filled with small pebbles and flowers.
Turning it over in my hand, I see the bottle contains something inside. Something like a letter or note. Curious, I yank on the cork sitting on top of the bottle. I never had the greatest upper body strength, and it took a few frustrated grunts and maneuvering of my body, but I finally pull the thing out. Turning it upside down, a tiny scroll slips out of the neck of the bottle.
The scroll resembles something almost of parchment, it looks aged and slightly yellow. The scent of the aged paper and salt air instantly fill my nose, as it scrunches up in response.
Placing the bottle in the sand, I tenderly hold the scroll, unrolling it to find a message written in what looks like calligraphy and black ink. My hands start to shake, afraid of what I might find, but excited at the same time for what I would find.
And in the tiny scroll, I found the words,
“He was my smile. And one day I lost both.”
And as my lips whisper them, I feel a tingle run up my spine, and pang in my heart. And I found myself wondering how it was, that I had stumbled upon this. Of all people, why was it me?
Because whoever these words belonged to, they spoke to me. Despite the simplicity of the sentence, there was great depth to be felt by them, and I felt them. All too clearly.
I find myself on my knees, sinking into the sand, as my eyes begin to water, and everything fades around me. I squeeze the scroll tightly against my chest, feeling the pain contained in such a small piece of paper.
My mind flashes back to the moment he left me. To the moment where I lost sight of who I was, and along with it, everything that I was.
He had come into my life when I needed someone the most, and left when I needed him the most.
He had given me a reason to smile again, and when he left one day, he took with him my smile. I let myself depend on him, sure that his words and actions only spoke of the truth.
They say it is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all. And the phrase has grown to haunt me over the years. It may be better to have loved and lost than to never have loved, but it is far easier to have never loved at all. It may be that you will never know or have felt the happiness that comes with true love, but is it worth becoming colder and hiding from the world? I don’t know what the answer is.
The message in the bottle has reminded me that I was suffocating, only seeing love as something that would waste me away. Loving again seems so terrifying right now. And despite wanting to feel connected with someone, I can’t help but run away at the first sign of attraction. I desperately want to be able to open myself up again and to share my world with someone. But at the same time, I want to build walls so strong around my heart that my heart turns into ice, cold and distant.
And in this moment I wanted nothing more than to become one with the ocean. To have it consume me in its waters, and wash away all the pain. And just as the waves kiss the shore over and again no matter how times they are sent away, I too wanted to be able to love over and over, even in the face of betrayal, deception, and rejection. But how, was the question. How do I open myself up again?
Looking at the words again, I take out a pen from my bag, and under it I scribble.
“Someday, you will find someone special again. It is in our nature to love. If life can remove someone we never dreamed of losing, then it can replace them with someone we never dreamt of loving.”
The paper returns to its rolled form in my palm, and I pick up the bottle, returning it to its home. Securing the cork on, I close my eyes and say a little prayer,
With all my strength, I throw the bottle back into the ocean. Watching it drift away slowly, reflecting the beauty of moonlight, until it faded away, becoming one with the waters.
And I hoped that whoever found it next, would understand that the bravest thing we’ll ever do, is to love again.