The Hopeful Wanderer – An Ocean Come to Stay

Warm, salty air blew in my face as I made my way to my favorite market, a place I had not visited in awhile. A setting sun pinking the soft clouds overhead let me know I needed to hurry before they closed down for the night.

I turned a corner for the stairs leading down into the market. But my feet slowed as I approached, for ocean water slapped against the bottom of the iron handrail, covering the steps halfway up.

All across the market was ocean.

As I stared out at the calm waves, my mind scurried around, searching for an answer. Though some time ago now, the last time I had visited this market, the ocean had lurked over a mile off, trapped behind the barrier of a sea wall to prevent flooding. The market itself had bustled with lively trade, the brick paths ringing with music and voices raised with the joy of shopping. Colorful awnings and overhangs had protected from the sun and seagulls. Street food scenting the air.

Yet the waves lapped and lapped at the stairway. Going nowhere. Giving up nothing. To me, it appeared as though the ocean had come to stay.

A few people moved along the sidewalk behind me, including a kid. A girl who gawked at me but tried to hide it.

As she passed, I cleared my throat to get the girl’s attention. “Excuse me, there used to be a market here,” I said, pointing at the waves. “Where is it now?”

The girl pointed in the same place. When I looked in the direction of her index finger, I saw a corner of red and white tent cloth waving from a few inches below the water. “The sea rose too fast,” she explained. “We couldn’t save any of it.”

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2 thoughts on “The Hopeful Wanderer – An Ocean Come to Stay

  1. Interesting… it seems that this unfortunate market is not how he/she remembers it. And I wonder, why does the girl gawk? Perhaps this story symbolizes how things change when one is not around, and the world continues to go about its day as normal. Entire markets are flooded, and one simply does not give a thought to them, oblivious. And then they return and it hits them. The others, who were there when this happened, are already over this. And all of this leads to the punch in the stomach of bad news never ending — it’s always still to come for someone out there. Well, maybe not with coronavirus, because everyone knows about that, but with most things…
    Am I being confusing?

    1. No, this makes sense. I did want to capture that gut wrenching feeling of being faced with a drastic change that happened suddenly and without anyone’s permission

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