Walking on that wet sand, always made me feel at home. The gentle ripples and the slow gushing sound of the sea was music to my ears. I can’t verbally explain exactly how at peace I used to be at the beach in KSA. It was a private company beach, a great privilege for us. We visited there at almost every Eid. The attachment grew so much for me, that I began hauling my family in our car and forcibly taking them along with me. Dad always enjoyed taking me there though. It was about an hour and a half away from our home. It was a beautiful drive to and fro. And the beach was beyond words.
I waded in the water for as long as I could. I would try to rethink my life, to try to find a direction. I was clumsy at making friends. I was weird. The tiny waves would hit my feet gently as i walked about a kilometre or so. The water always mesmerised me, I tried to constantly find meaning in my life.
Towards the evening, my mom and dad would be done with barbecue they enjoyed doing together. They would call out to us to join them for a lovely feast of barbecue chicken and meat Kebabs, salad, Quboos (arabic bread), mayyonaise sauce. If I close my eyes I can still recollect the aroma and the taste. I can also recollect the feeling of being in the water.
At times I built sandcastles. Not very fancy or artsy. Just structures in the sand. I always had something on my mind while building them. I was naive, and forlorn. Sometimes I listened to music. Taking the lyrics to heart. Sometimes I would just cry. It was just so beautiful to not cry.
I did have a lovely time with my family. My siblings and I would build our own sand structures. Then we’d take lots of pictures. My little bro would trample over all our castles before sunset! When it got dark, mom would sit down on a mat by the sea. I wonder what all she used to think about. My brothers and sisters would play ball on the beach sand. Once my sis almost started a bonfire. Dad doused it quickly asking us to behave! I tried learning to drive dad’s car here often. On one trip a swarm of dead jelly fish were washed ashore. I had a fun time poking them and oozing the jelly out. My sis later made a jelly fish barbecue. Ewww! Oh, and once we even caught baby fishes in plastic bags. It was the hardest thing to do. At some time of the year there would be sea shells by the shore. Other times it would be neat as a sheet.
Why I am I reminiscing all of this? Today a friend of mine posted a silhouette of hers at the Alkhobar corniche. She is getting married. Most probably leaving KSA, and bidding the place goodbye. Sure she would come there again. But things would change. Just like they did with me.
In the picture above taken by my sis, I did not know I would be leaving this haven of mine. Probably forever in about a years time. I just cried. I am still having tears in my eyes. (I visited the beach once after my marriage, along with my hubby in 2012, and then again one last time in 2014 after my daughter was born.)
I don’t know what gave me courage to stand right there, half waded in the water, and say farewell..to the sea…to the sky…to the wind…to the sun…to the moon. I stood there and bid goodbye to the most favourite place of mine. My refuge, by the sea, that beach. My heart yearns so hard to go back once more, and hold the waves in my arms like lost children.
Reflecting now, life was so simple back then. I had so many blessings, I am now unable to count. Do I miss that part of my life? Yes I do. I like walking ahead in life. But there are some things that are hard to part with. My heart is whacking my brain. Where did it get so much guts from, to say goodbye to this place?
I used to lie down on the mat beside my mom and count the stars. I loved the stars from childhood. It used to be so peaceful there. We would sit there for hours doing nothing. Just living the present moment.
I consciously left that place. I knew I would miss it. The sea was very calm on my last visit. I just didn’t know, there would come a time where I would be up 1:50 am in the night, missing my beach so bad and the unsurmountable misery of the fact that I don’t think I will be able to ever go there again. Ever. If I knew that then, probably things would have been different.
What pokes at my heart, is the fact that I let the sun go down on me with my own hands. The night is beautiful, but is almost always hazy where I live. I am waiting, for dawn, for the sun to rise once more. Maybe a new venue, a new sea, a new wind, but my connection will be the same.