The Cove, there was no other place Georgia wanted to be. She loved summers at the beach with her pops. Georgia pulled the rocker close to her grandfather’s, almost touching. She needed to be near, reassured by the sounds of his breathing. Side by side, gliding back and forth. She had nowhere to go, nowhere she’d rather be. Mostly, she rocked while he nodded off. He was her most favorite person. She refused a life without him. Georgia knew what was coming. Maxine wasn’t the only one with a gift, she didn’t brag. Her grandmother was a fading memory, but Georgia could still recall the tight squeeze of her hand. How overtired giggly they got when she tucked her in. Harry whispered secrets in her ear.
“Don’t let anyone make fun of you carrot top, freckle face, how you are. Someday, they will see how dazzling and pretty you are. Stand your ground, find something to believe in and go for it. Don’t look back. Don’t apologize. Be nicer to your mother, she was a free spirit once. She plain forgot. Make her laugh when she gets too serious. Protect and cherish your sisters, they’re what you got. At some point, you will be disappointed by them, even hate one or all. They might despise you, too. It won’t matter, your sisters will pick your side every time. I promise, that’s what families do. Your family, our family is bound by deep love and tradition. We are not quitters; we are backwards optimists. Takes a little longer, we get there on our time. I love that shared trait. We believe in our truths, once we’ve ripped them apart and examined the guts with a loupe. I’m dying baby, I won’t spare you, hide the truth. You won’t have to wonder where the hell I went. I adore you too much to leave you questioning my invisible parts. I love you right now, in this room, on this bed. You’re my big girl, so smart. I will miss bedtime tuck-ins, our secrets. Don’t tell your mama, she won’t understand. You have your grandfather’s eyes, and my cautious curiosity. Close your tired eyes, tomorrow we’ll go to the beach. Hug your grandfather when he gets sad. He’ll need you Georgia Pine, when I go.
Georgia looks at Harry through the puzzled eyes of an eight year old. Hush don’t be afraid, life is about coming and going.”
Turbulent waters soothe the gypsy, calming and evoking blue myth mystery. The maudlin, tumultuous sea, her wishing wells of fragile glass trinkets, forgotten treasure, and pools of sunken love, long discarded. The ocean and her black ink mystery whisper in tongue, tales only I can decipher. The beach house perched precariously on a bluff, is blurred and out of focus. Drifting farther and farther from reach, I am flailing and kicking. I scream sea bubbles trying desperately not to be pulled under. My weary eyes close, muscles go limp, as I surrender to the serene beauty. I am weightless. Drowning, I am finally free to listen to the sounds of quiet. Chimes dance and sway in the wind, calling me home. I know this place; I have been here before. She beckons. I am not unready, the flesh is not willing. I know I cannot stay here in the darkest, sublime solitude corners of the mind. With sea legs unsteady, I kick hard, resolute. I must embrace the riptides of imagination inside the forbidden, profound Mariana Trench depths of the mind I cannot fully comprehend. The sea is bound blue, white and grey urchin green, hauntingly transparent, and overly persistent.
I must stay, here, for now. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
“The vast landscape was never ours to begin with, we are all tenants of the same good earth. Surrounded by the enchanting tourist attractions, one forgets. One becomes enamored by the sounds, smells and tastes. Time? Time mattered less.” – Jacqueline Cioffa
The way the stories breeze through my mind, much like the people I have loved and let go.
As I watch helpless, I cringe at the chaos that surrounds. These are dangerous times we live in. To love, dream, practice uncomfortable kindness. To choose hope.
I leave this place with tales spun from grass and held together by frayed twine.
Living is scary. Not living is well nothing, nothing at all. Moments scribbled on forgotten parchment, moving images I recall.
Will it matter, probably not. But, it matters now. Right here. Right now.
It was real for a moment, in my head and my heart.
It was so nice to dream.
excerpt Georgia Pine by Jacqueline Cioffa
“There is something about a seashore dwelling, how the wind blows steady, sweeping and swooshing problems away. They magically evaporate out to sea. Harry couldn’t know how blessed time and living inside that house would be. The home was evergreen, oversized planks, cool to the touch but so very warm inside. The picnic bench carved with etched markings, familiar names, some recent, others worn. Barely legible grooves recorded a family.”