I press my foot on the brakes of my old VW bug. I need to get away from his mindless chattering. “What the fuck are you doing?!” he shouts, but I ignore him. Yeah I seem kind of crazy, stopping the car like this at the side of this winding beach road, but right now I don’t give a shit. I unbuckle my seatbelt, open my door and get out of the car without looking back at him, slamming the door shut with a kick of my foot and run. I’ve never been a runner, but this is so right. The salty sea air is stinging my eyes and above I can hear gulls squawking. The February sky is gray and it’s cold, but that doesn’t matter.

***

She jumped off the pier into the fucking ocean. I don’t know what she was thinking. We were just driving along and she suddenly pulled over to the edge of the road, got out of the car and ran – she never runs so it made the situation even weirder than it was already – and kept going until she reached the edge of the pier. All I could do was watch. She climbed up the railing, looked back at me, laughed and jumped. It was February. The water was ice cold. That was the last time i saw her laugh. The look on her face was pure happiness. I’ll never know why she did it.

***

Shit. I never thought it would be this cold. My legs are numbing, I’m shivering more than I ever have before. Oh god. So this is what it feels like.

I remember the first time I went to the ocean. I was five years old and my father brought me here, to this beach. “Be careful” he told me as I teetered close to the edge of the railings “the water is cold and deep”

“Don’t worry Daddy, I’ll stay safe” I replied. That day was simultaneously the best and worst day of my life. Little did I know at the time that those hours spent wrapped in my father’s arms at the beach, drinking hot chocolate and building sandcastles in the cold, damp sand would be the last time I’d see my father.

My arms are getting tired; I’m running out of energy. He’s not going to save me. There’s not enough time. I have to stop paddling. I need to let this water take me. The salt stings my eyes and it’s hard to tell if tears are falling from my eyes or I’m sobbing because of the iciness of the ocean. This is it. He’ll never understand. Nobody will. In the distance I can hear him calling my name. Calling for help. I can see flashing lights above me, but I know they won’t make it. My vision is blurring and I’m beginning to sink. I’m letting the water take me just as it took my father.