Epilogue (But Not Really)
As humans, we often finds ourselves sitting in the middle of the ocean with the waves rocking a boat that’s half-sunken and in desperate need of someone to save us. It’s not until we’re in the middle of the sea, where there’s no one to help that we end up in the most peril of situations. While the water begins to fill the bottom, leaving your shoes soaking wet, you only then realize that you had allowed yourself to venture out into a place as desolate as the sea in a boat that was doomed from the beginning.
As the boat sinks, you only have two options. You can either pull the string on that lifesaver in hopes that you’ll float your way back to shore or you can go down with the ship.
I was in that situation. My mistakes were the holes in the bottom of the stupid little rowboat I had chosen for my venture across the open waters. With the water gushing in quicker than I could process, I was left to my own devices. For a few moments, it seemed as if I was going to drown due to the weight of the consequences that came with my mistakes. I was halfway under the water, about to slip into a dark place that I would never come back from when I opened my eyes. The salt water stung them, caused me to choke. That was the price I had to pay to survive, though.
Somehow I realized that my mistakes wouldn’t come to define me. The water was beginning to fill my lungs and drag me under, but I happened to tilt my head back at the very last second. Right before I was about to let go, I saw the sunlight. It was just a trickle, but it was there.
I had always believed that any mistakes I made would follow me until the day I died. Some of them still left a burning feeling in the pit of my stomach when I brought back the memories. Others, though, I could look back and smile on. While at the time they had mostly resulted in pain and embarrassment, they had taught me more than anything else in life.
All it took, though, to keep me going was that little stitch of sunlight. To see something so beautiful break through the musty water and know that if I just reached for it, I would eventually break the surface. I would be able to breathe again.
I had never once imagined at the beginning of the summer that I would eventually end up in the middle of the ocean, in danger of drowning in the rocky waters. I had allowed that pinch of bad to get the better of me, to send me drunkenly choosing my boat without any realization of what I was doing to myself. With shaky legs and a hazy mind, I had begun to paddle my way out to sea, throwing those I loved out of the boat until it was just me.
It hadn’t sunk in until the hangover faded away that I had no one to turn to. In my need to break the rules, the image that my father had of me, I had forgotten about those that were important to me. I hadn’t realized that they would be of help when I was rocking back and forth against those waves, constantly being threatened to be thrown overboard just by one strong wave.
When the sunlight hit my face, I knew it was the right decision. Even though I was left bobbing in the middle of the ocean, now lost at sea, at least I could feel the sun again. It was still cloudy, but the sun on my face had never felt so warm before.
I was lost that entire summer, trying to find a girl that my sister convinced me I was. I was picking up the pieces to a puzzle when I hadn’t even gotten to see the whole picture. Even now, at the end of August, I was trying to put the last pieces of the puzzle together.
“Okay, so this says that there’s a Starbucks on campus.” I said in the midst of freak-out mode with the Hollowbrook map spread out before me on the dashboard of his Jeep. “But, there’s not even a single bakery in sight!”
“Oh, no, what are you going to do?” Eli teased me from the driver’s seat. “I think we should just turn around. You’re not going to last a week without cupcakes.”