The Wind at The Beach, story by Angie Brocker at

The Wind at The Beach

The Wind at The Beach

written by: Angie Brocker



A cool Florida evening on the coast is like an invitation to a spa experience. Stopping at the beach for a front row sunset view is enough to regulate my anxious breaths, but adding in an ankle-deep stroll in shallow, warm and salty water enables me to breathe deeper than I have since my last visit.
Tonight, I stay later than most, because the moon is full and glowing softly on a barely windy night. The sound of waves rolling toward me feels like a bassinet rocking back and forth, lulling me into an almost sleep-like state. Closing my eyes, I feel alone, yet safely surrounded, until I hear footsteps in the waves. They crash through my peace as my eyes open to survey my surroundings. A man walks in my direction, he’s nondescript in the dusk, filling an average space and looking forward to the darkness behind where I stand. We don’t speak as he passes, I barely see his features, yet he’s not unfamiliar. No longer in my peripheral view, I turn to see if my safety is in jeopardy, only to see him stopped and looking in my direction.
“The snow is better, you know. It’s like a blanket surrounding your every move. It’s easier to keep track of you there,” the stranger’s voice is familiar and unkind. His words are more of an accusation than a statement, presented to the seagulls flying around us, as though my judges are here to decide my fate.
Turning to go toward my car, I recognize the voice, yet know it’s impossible I am hearing my father speak.
“I hate hot weather, that’s why you moved here! You’re still a princess!” he yells in my direction. I feel the words hit the back of my neck, slicing through my spine. It’s a familiar sensation.
Tempted to turn, I stop momentarily, wiping hot tears, saltier than the ocean, from my face.
“Your mother still believes you’re the reason I brought a gun with me that day. I whisper in her ear how it was your fault!” his laughter is low and cruel. It barely fades when I block my ears with my hands.
Deciding to turn, I feel stronger facing him, although everything except his voice is still indistinct. “I didn’t leave because of you. I left for me,” I state while raising my chin and burying my feet a bit in the cool sand.
“You stole from me,” he says.
“You stole from me,” I repeat back with no hesitation.
Stepping forward, the moon illuminates part of his face, and I recognize my DNA. “Surprised to see my head in one piece?”
“Yes,” I answer honestly. “I’ve imagined what you looked like…after.”
“The princess has a disturbed mind,” he mocks.
“That may be the most normal thought I’ve had in a long time,” I say defiantly.
“I’m the happiest I’ve been. I’m not sorry,” his smile, visible now, reflects on the shallow water.
“I believe you,” escapes from my lips.
He turns and walks in the opposite direction, kicking up small splashes with each step. I don’t try to stop him.
An hour later, I’m home, watching my dog eat his dinner as I erase memories of the beach with twelve shots of whiskey, one for each year we didn’t speak prior to the day he died. It’s not the first time I need to escape thoughts of my father. Sometimes, a hangover is better than a memory.

A month passes, and I haven’t been back to the beach. I feel both comforted and disturbed. Tonight feels different because the wind is strong and continual. Certainly, illusions can’t exist in a storm, and possibly, some thunder can scare away my father’s memory from further invading my life while rain drowns my thoughts of him.
Sitting in damp sand with my toes dipped in the water, I feel rebellious after walking past the red flag signs at the entrance of the beach. Soft sprinkles of rain hit my face, baptizing my thoughts. Small splashes of water trickle on my legs as my father sits beside me, his hand landing inches from mine.
“My blood was splattered around the cab of my truck. Pieces of me stuck to the windows,” he greets me with unrelenting words.
“Why did you choose my old high school parking lot? How could you allow a random jogger to find you? That person will never be able to erase that image of you out of her head!” I yell while staring toward the ocean.
“You still don’t understand,” his voice ridicules my words.
“No, I don’t,” I whisper. My voice catches the wind and drifts in several directions, as though I’m in an auditorium.
“You are completely to blame! I didn’t want to get your mother pregnant when I was 18! You changed my entire life! I was forced to be a father, forced to be a husband, forced to join the army! Hell, they chose my career and where I lived for years! You forced me into a life I didn’t want, even while I was living it!” I feel his eyes on me as he screams in a tone I’ve never heard. It’s ragged.
“I didn’t ask to be born. Besides, I thought people felt peace once they died. Where’s yours?” I cry.
“Your mother and I were told we had to have you. I’ve found that peace isn’t automatic, alive or dead. We create our own peace, and I need to find mine. I am truly happy, but peace escapes me still,” his voice quiets.
“Is that why you’re here?” I look over, but am still unable to focus on his face.
“There’s no peace around you! I didn’t want you to begin with, why would I use you for anything but punishment?” he questions.
“You punished me enough during your life,” I say before I find myself alone, waves crashing my face and rain suddenly falling hard enough to threaten my existence. I hesitate for a full minute before deciding to leave.

I don’t see my father again, nor do I speak to my mother before she passes. He’d said what he came to say, and I had nothing left to say to her in this life. Sometimes anger and resentment are enough. I find my peace at the beach after that evening.
Maybe I’ll change my mind on the other side, but I don’t think I will.

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