Sunset At The Beach (A Brief Confession)

I just cracked open a beer. Saint Archer IPA. I wonder if the people around me think I am derelict for drinking beer from a can at the beach? I am casually dressed, wearing a flannel and hair is a mess so maybe. Or maybe the MacBook Air that I am typing on makes me look like an eccentric, bohemian, intellectual. Who knows what other people think. I have given up on trying to guess. It’s how I think that concerns me most. And most of the time I tend to be an obsessive thinker and this is what concerns me most.

Anyways, the sun is setting over the ocean horizon. It is a blinding ball of orange dropping from endless sky. I can hear the laughter of kids. The crashing of the waves. Some kid screams “no” in defiance against his mother. I can relate. I take sips from my beer even though a large part of me just wants to down it. I love beer induced release. It’s better than all forms of meditation. I think it has something to do with the hops.

Did I mention that I am sitting on a bench? Hunched over on my MacBook. But occasionally I look up at the sun. It’s receding more and more, not unlike my hairline. I notice that as the sun falls behind the earth, it feels chilly and the sea is growing louder. This sea could devour us all in a second. I find it sobering to be sitting at the foot of this force. Makes me feel like a homunculus.

There are a few islands off the coast but I doubt anyone lives on them. At least anyone who cares to be known. I seem to be obsessed with being known. Being known on my own terms, for who I really am. I presume this comes from having a narcissistic father who needed it all to be about him. Or maybe it comes from living in a society where we are not allowed to be known for who we are. I envy those who could care less about being known. Who are comfortable with living and dying without being known. Who are comfortable with anonymity. My sister is this way- she could spend day after day sitting in front of a television without any aspirations to be known.

Two attractive girls are walking towards me. I smile at them and they pretend not to see me. The sun is turning orange. Its fading fire seems to be deflating like a tire. Where does the sun go anyways? It’s literally falling into the sea and we are all acting as if this is perfectly normal. Two guys play basketball. Kids play on the swings. A couple sits on a bench watching the sun go down. There are people scattered all over the beach. It’s a big beach. A beautiful beach in Oxnard, California. A place someone referred to as “nothing but fields and beaches.”

I’ve recently moved here. On a boat after my wife divorced me because she found another guy. I always knew my wife would do this because it’s a habitual pattern that can be seen in people. They skip from one relationship to the next never able to hold interest in one person for long stretches of time. Their relationship ideal is not yet real. But this is good. I’m writing more. I’m less stressed out. The hurt is starting to fade. After years of emotional pain, the blood is drying.

There are boats far out in the sea. An oil rig. I am going to sit here until I see their lights turn on. Nothing as beautiful as a boat lit up in the night, far off in the sea. Should I make dinner at home or eat out tonight? I bought a lot of produce at the farmer’s market yesterday so I should go back to my boat and eat there. It is not easy to cook and do dishes on an old boat but it works for now. The boat I am living on is like an old wood cabin on the water.

The sun is dropping. The light is fading. Everything is growing dimmer. There is the presence of serenity. This is why it is good for humans to be around water. Water is serenity. It is where our brains find peace.

I spent the day working on my boat with a handyman. He was trying to fix the toilet, which overflowed. We did other work as well. He is an old seaman. Muscular and still getting down on hand and knees and stretching himself inside of tight spaces. I hope I can do that when old. He told me I was a sneak aboard. Since I was living on my boat without the proper licensing, I was not an official live aboard. I was a sneak aboard. When he told me this for a moment I was frightened that he would report me. But then I told myself, “Who cares.”. If he does I will deal with it then. I am just grateful for this time on the boat and am not going to spend it worrying. Most of what I have worried about in my life hasn’t happened. Getting testicular cancer and having my wife tell me that she does not want to be with me anymore are two things I never worried about.

There goes the sun. Behind the edge of one of the vacant islands. Now just reflection of orange. The tides pick up. The sky grows beautiful. A natural Rothko painting. As the sun falls into the sea, the orange hue gradually bleeds its way into the blue sky. This is what could be called an ethereal moment. I am glad there are a few people sitting on benches appreciating it. After going through a painful divorce, I haven’t appreciated anything in a long time. This feels good. I can smell the sea. Seaweed mixed with salt and sewage. An airplane moves across the sky. I wonder where my wife is now. Probably with her man since I know she is unable to spend much time alone.

The islands out in the sea look like a purple wax sculpture. The more I drink my 19.2 FL OZ beer the drunker I begin to feel. I guess I am a lightweight. Doesn’t take much. There are few things that I love. I love dogs. I love women. I love the sea. I love books. I love God Speed You Black Emperor. But I really love beer. This is why I try not to drink it much.

The sun is almost completely gone but it’s still light out. Today I wrote the first draft of a pitch that I want to make to several publishing companies. I want to write a biography of David Berman, the countercultural singer, songwriter, poet and artist (he liked to draw things). Maybe I am completely delusional to do such a thing. I mean who am I? Just an unknown and unpublished 48 year old writer. But the FBI showed up at my home concerned about some things I was writing on my blog. I couldn’t believe it. For me, having the FBI show up at my front door for something that I wrote is my highest accomplishment as a writer. I feel like there is no one better to be given money to write a biography of David Berman than I. Maybe it is arrogant to say, but I would like to think that David Berman would want me to write his biography.

Things are growing gradually dark. The sea smells good. The waves are loud. No one is sitting on benches now that the sun has set. But why not stay for the best part of the show? Watching day turn into night. People have such short attention spans. They bore so easily. Not I. I am here until it turns dark.

I want to text my wife but she is not my wife anymore. I want to take pictures of what I am seeing and share it with her. But I can’t do that anymore. Not much at least. I need to draw a line between her and I. A thick black line. I need to realize she is not the person I married anymore. Her tattoos prove it. She is a friend now but not someone I need to text all the time. Not someone I need to trust. It is too bad. I liked it while it lasted. But now I should get used to being on my own. I need to discover other women whom I can love. The things I do and see and think have to be enough for just me now. I can’t share them with her. This is the hardest part of getting divorced. Makes me want to cry just thinking about it. But her loss. She will never find someone who loved her as much as I did. And I am afraid still do, all though I am trying to get rid of that. Sometimes in life I guess we just have to accept letting go of the ones we love. I have tried to hate her guts. Hate hasn’t worked much. I have too much guilt for that approach.

I’ve been alone on the boat for several weeks now. It’s been hard. But I am gradually getting the hang of it. Beer helps. I moved onto an old boat in Oxnard and know no one here. Not a soul. I am completely alone but trust I will gradually meet people. That is if my boat doesn’t sink. The handyman told me I should get an alarm to notify me if the bilge is filling with water. The boat is that old. I don’t care. We all must die. I am just grateful to be having this experience. I love the boat. If it sinks and I have to go down with it, I can think of worse ways to die.

The lights on the street have turned on. There is sand everywhere. I am getting cold. There are a few more sips left in my beer. I feel buzzed. What is the difference between buzzed and drunk? Is drunk when you lose all control and rationality? If so, I am always buzzed when I drink. I never lose control anymore.

Did you know that darkness descends from the top down? It starts in space and gradually descends upon us. Darkness covers us like a plastic bag. As gradually as the sun sets, darkness gradually covers us. I can see the first ship lit up far out at sea. Or is that an oil rig? There are cars driving by with headlights on. Two guys are putting on wetsuits and preparing to go surfing. Now that is commitment, surfing at night.

There are less people on the beach now. The two guys are still playing basketball. The darkness is gradually blending in with the orange. Soon the darkness (which is now a shade of purplish black) will win out and all will grow dark. I guess that is the fate of all human life. No matter how hard we try we can’t out run the darkness. The darkness becomes us. And all we can do is trust that the light will return. That is what I am doing now. Trusting that gradually the light will return. That I will stop shedding tears and move on from the woman whom I once called wife.

Two young surfers run out into the sea. They are excited to be jumping into the furious power of the sea. The joys of youth. Youth is gone from me now but I appreciate theirs. I try to hang onto mine in spirit. I am going to finish my beer and stop writing now. I want to watch the darkness descend. I’m no different than the gradually diminishing orange hue. It fights against the darkness, just like I do.