I’m watching a film.
There’s a scene at the end
where the leading lady gets into her car and drives.
The camera, a bird’s eye view of highways and roads
follows her progress until the journey slows
curves along the edge of sunshine and sea
before braking to standstill on gravel and sand.
I’ve seen this film before, a light-hearted affair
no hidden meaning or sudden twist at the end
but this time, a wave of sadness washes over me
sitting on the couch, trying not to cry
wondering why the sight of the ocean at the end of a film
feels like someone close just died.
As the credits roll, I let the waves run in to shore
until my breathing calms and I am more myself again
forty six years old and counting,
acknowledging the sadness
of continents and planets unexplored,
of a single self who got side-tracked early.
I think of childless friends
who speak of emptiness and longing
the inconsolable sea inside
and that defining moment
whether through age or circumstance
when only one reality remains
and grief shows up to fill the void.