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Oct 2017
As a technologically advanced human race, we have still only studied about 5% of the earth’s oceans. There are still 2/3 unknown marine life. Every day there are people exploring the ocean, yet we have not reached the deepest point in the oceans. Every day the waves crash against the shore, but what lies within remains a mystery. The first time I fell in love, it was the day I ran across the hot sand, through the heavy air, straight into the salty, raging mass at the edge of my world. I knew that we did know a lot about the oceans, but what I did know was the way I felt. To stand in something so much greater than myself is a powerful thing. I felt small and weak but she was kind. My clothes stuck to my skin and my hair plastered against my neck and forehead. I feared her as the sun hid his face behind the clouds, and the sky grew dark. She was having a bad day, and I did not know why. She grew even stronger as I stood on the shore, not wanting to leave her side. My mother forced me back into the hotel we were staying in. My heart sank as I saw the rain poor onto the asphalt. I had left my love at her low. I knew she was dangerous to man. The ocean is relentless. Her currents increase when she feels like it, and I could get ****** under if I stayed out there. Every year at least 100 people die from drowning in rip currents. Of course, my mom could never have that.

I was torn. My love was unrequited. What she taught me was something I didn’t understand until years later. She showed me that I did not need to travel to the coast of the land to find her. For she lives in everyone around me. I am falling in love every day, with the eyes the color of the ocean. The soft hands like waves caressing the shore. I see anger in the mouth of a lover, rage like a hurricane. My heart shatters the way she devours the boats, swallowing them whole. These people I love are oceans of their own. Their depths have never been reached by a single human being. Every year, they consume the hearts of those around them. Sometimes they are recovered, never the same of course, but sometimes they are left to lie unseen on the ocean floor forever. These people leave their scent clinging to the hairs on my arms the way her salt is left all day after a swim in the morning. It is not their fault that they break my heart, it is not their fault that I loved the ocean first.

I fell in love on a Thursday afternoon. He had dark hair and eyes the color of my first love. I never thought about how bad it would hurt when his storm came. He consumed me entirely, then his waves receded and my toes were left to dry on the shore. That Thursday, the sun shone so brightly as we laid on the couch. Weeks later, he took me home with only the words, “This *****.” No one ever said the ocean was poetic. The scent of his salt took me home.

As our silent goodbyes were exchanged that cool Sunday night. I could not stop thinking about her, my first love. I prayed to God as the tears rolled down my hot, red cheeks. I thanked her in my mind for preparing me for this, for this gut wrenching heart break. I stepped away from the truck. I clenched my fists, and I knew the love. I knew the pain already. This was familiar. His scent, home. Now I was in a place of fear. The fear she had showed me. The ocean is relentless, and so was he. The ocean’s currents take over 100 lives a year in the US alone. I was drowning in his space, but I made it out. I will not be a part of that number. I am not a number, and you cannot build a home out of the ocean.
Written by
Rhianna Powell
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