Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone




The Faltering Circle

I was marooned, stranded and alone, floating in the middle of the ocean, without a safety net or a way to get back to safety. Everything seemed to have vanished on me, and there was no one there to tell me where to go next. I stared at the distant shore of the beach and it seemed further away than I remembered. I was treading water and was trying to keep myself slipping under the waves. It was a struggle to but was able to keep myself from sinking beneath the surface. I felt a little lost and disoriented and watched for a signal, but there was nothing. The indifferent sea and its endless waves lapped around d me, pushing me under, rising and falling over my body like I was invisible. The waves intensified and I tried to keep my head above them, but they were relentless and seemed to be undermining my efforts on purpose. In an attempt to find some balance, I decided to stop fighting the opposing waves and began to move with them. It started to work and slowly regained my bearings. I was far out from the shore but didnít know how deep it was. To get an idea, I dove down and sprang up a few times. I couldnít reach bottom and felt the pressure building the deeper I went. It was hard to hold my breath while simultaneously trying to stay down there as long as possible. I didnít succeed a first and wasnít able to avoid swallowing a huge gulp of the salt-water when I emerged. I was stuck in place, not making much progress and decided that diving wouldnít work. I needed to get back to the shore, however far it was. This wasnít going to be an easy task, but I prepared for the long swim ahead.

I looked around and the beach seemed smaller from that distance, more fragile than I had remembered. The summer air seemed hotter and the sun above was larger and less forgiving. I felt smaller in some ways, but also stronger. I looked towards the outlines of the beach in the distance and began heading there. I took a deep breath and let the air fill me up so I could move a further towards the shore, cautiously advancing with each stroke. I stuck my head up and there was still no one else nearby. It felt like I could vanish beneath the surface and no one would notice. I was accustomed to invisibility by that point. It really didnít bother me but the suddenness of the recurrence caught me off guard. I tried to coast and tread water, gaining my bearings. This was more difficult than it had been in the past. The diving platform was missing and this made it harder for me to gauge the distance. I had no idea if it had vanished or been taken or stolen. In the end it didnít matter because the result was the same. There was nowhere to stop, without it. I didnít have a place to rest at the half-way point like I usually did. I would have to swim straight back to shore without a break. There was nowhere to rest if I got tired and ran out of energy.

I looked behind my back, across the sea towards the islands. They seemed to be drifting further, sinking into the ocean, gradually disappearing beneath the horizon. As the tides and currents pushed my back towards the ocean, I saw them quietly sliding away in the distance, vanishing under the sunís omnipotent glow, permeating every inch of the atmosphere. Without a boat, they could have been on another planet. Their outlines flickered and shimmered, sketching their distant presence under the hazy sun. A huge expanse, the sea churned, I was facing a losing battle against the tides. In that direction was a task far beyond my ability. Under their glistening green tree tops, varied under the skies, memories returned. They came flooding, conflicting and, reassuring, their presence a reminder but far too distant to reach. I remembered, but knew it wasnít meant to happen. I turned away but watch carefully, behind me. The distant islands slipped under the skies, settling far away, seeming to sink beneath the edges of the horizon, unreachable no matter how hard I swam. I turned back towards the ocean and watched a sail boat chopping through the currents in the distance. I heard its engine roaring but it was moving away from me and scattered past the deepest ocean, moving in the opposite direction at an increasing speed. I knew they wouldnít be able to see me, even if I jumped up and waved my arms. I knew this my mission and Iíd have to complete it without help. I decided not to spend energy calling for help; no one would hear me out there. This was no time for short-cuts, I knew that wasnít expected of me and didnít need rescuing from the latest test. My fear was tempered with a strange confidence, there had been so many adventures and it seemed like that was a new test to conquer. I estimated the distance ahead of me and realized that I had probably gone further every day without making much effort. I knew I could swim that far, but the distance was still intimidating. I just needed to swim a little farther than normal, keep my head above water and, I would be able to make it back to shore and the beach safely, without too much risk.

I waited for a moment to time my energy and also to let the sun warm my head a little. It was still blazing hot and I felt its strength above me. Even from that great distance, it seemed to channel through me, giving me a kind of spark, and it resembled the strange device I had found by the sunken ship. I felt the temperature rise inside me and this gave me strength. I felt its beams reaching downward and the renewal gave me a new energy and purpose. I decided to re-examine my surroundings and noticed things I hadnít seen before. I looked back towards the beach and into the currents running through the ocean tides. It was strange how things seemed to materialize in front of me when I concentrated my energy. I decided not to question things at that point and after looking closely, patterns in the sea began to form. There were areas seemed choppy and chaotic, filled with high waves and churning waters, but when I looked closer, there were also areas that I could cross without much difficulty. These waves seemed to be slower and calmer, carving out between the higher waves where things were calmer and I looked carefully, and a path seemed to present itself. I didnít know how long it would last, but I knew I had to act quickly. I moved my body into position and began to twist my arms and legs into form and shot off through the high waves. It took some effort until I finally reached the lower waves and I took a moment to soak it in. I tread in place for a few moments, kicking the ocean underneath me until I was floating effortlessly. I caught a glimpse of the shore ahead and noticed it was much more crowded than I remembered. I didnít know how long had passed, hours or minutes, even days. I scanned ahead and wondered whether anyone was out there looking for me. I didnít realize how far Iíd come, but slowly, the tides began to subside and the waves began to slow, I was floating back towards land effortlessly, floating on the waves.

I took the moment to relax and let the waves roll under me, sweeping me ahead without much effort. Sensing that the water was become shallower, I extended my feet downward and could nearly touch the bottom. It was beginning to get rockier and clusters of seaweed were tangled, evidence that I had nearly completed my return journey. I looked back and tried to see if the diving boards had somehow reappeared or had moved. I thought perhaps I had lost track of it, but there was no sign of it anywhere, not even a ripple. I didnít understand why it had vanished, or if anyone had noticed its disappearance, but I decided not to dwell on it. Instead, I took a deep breath and exhaled, greatly relieved to be headed back towards solid ground. I had done it without the cushion, the vanished shelter provided. I was stronger than I expected. In a strange way, it was something that was no longer needed. The waves seemed to calm and I saw the sun reflecting on their surface, shimmering in its light, calmly warming the ocean. I seemed to drift backwards into the summer, and remembered everything that happened and felt a little overwhelmed. My feet were still off the ground a little bit and I floated towards the shore incrementally, guided by forces and countless strange memories I couldnít quite enumerate. I hadnít forgotten anything, but the contradictions, puzzles and mysteries that unfolded hadnít really coalesced quite the way I would have predicted. It seemed that every time I thought I had things under control, something else would surface that would completely change my perspective. Everything seemed to warp under my feet, even the water seemed to be acting a little odd, the currents not quite managing to completely dedicate themselves to their direction. I let them pull me back, but I was entirely prepared for something unexpected to occur.

I kept looking for the bottom to rise towards me so I could begin walking towards the beach, I could almost sense it coming on and tried to force things by pushing my feet downward. I wanted to feel sand and mud. I was finally controlling my fate, something I hadnít felt for the past few days. I wanted to feel like some part of my day was mine for a change. I pushed ahead, stamping my arms forwards in front of me and splashing into the waves. Growing impatient, I turned down and started kicking my feet and moved forward quickly until I had finally passed the deepest point. As the water grew shallower and closer to land, it became even calmer, the waves diminishing in height and speed; this allowed me a clear, safe path back. I felt the sun burning my shoulders and it began to refract as it encountered the denser areas surrounding the shoreline. I took another look around and there was still no sign of the platform, I thought perhaps it had drifted closer inland, but there was nothing. I knelt down into a ball for a moment and pushed ahead quickly, kicking off in a giant motion that splashed water behind me as I dove down into the water and began swimming even faster. I saw the sun beginning to falter in the sky and knew that I would have to rush to beat the shadows. With a renewed energy, I took another deep breath and rushed forward. It was almost like running and I rushed until I finally hit the small inlet where the beach curves protected the path from the faster, choppier ocean currents, I finally reached the shore, and stood up, walking over the rockier surfaces and navigating through the seaweed. I took no more time than needed and almost ran back onto the sand, cutting a path quickly through the now densely populated beach. I searched for my beach bag and the blanket, I knew where Iíd hidden it, but wasnít sure if it was still there. I wanted to locate it quickly, since I was worried that it might vanish next.

There were so many people on the beach that day which made it difficult to search, and I wondered if there would be anything to find. I remembered where I stowed the bag in a general sense but couldnít quite remember its exact location. I took a few nervous steps, carefully going around the clusters of people and blankets that seemed to take up most areas. There were some narrow paths between them and I took my time, carefully searching for it. I had to look between and underneath other peopleís belongings, and tried to see if it had been buried or lost somewhere in all the commotion, people were walking everywhere running and jumping. I looked around and walked in the same area where I had left it, circling around and looking carefully to see if it might turn up somehow. I thought it might have been on the upper part of the beach, but thought it was too light and might have blown down back towards the ocean. I continued to search for it for several minutes and walked up and down the sands, quickly scanning to see if there was any sign of it. I remembered how difficult it had been to find it initially and how much effort I had put into hiding it. Realizing that it was probably meant to be a difficult task, I decided to take a different approach.

When I first walked back onto the beach, I was scattered in my approach and randomly walked around at first but that it wasnít working. I took a moment and tried to become a bit more methodical and organized, tracking my steps and pacing out the beach, dividing it into sections and trying to find it. As I was searching, I sensed that a few people were looking at me strangely, like I didnít belong there. I thought that perhaps they could sense my confusion and wondered what I was looking for. There were more important tasks at hand, and I decided to keep my task in mind, so the stares didnít bother me after awhile. I was beginning to get frustrated and was starting to lose hope, there was nothing there. I thought that I had lost it, or someone had taken it while I was away on my journey. I decided to give things one more try and walked slower, thinking it might not be in the same position I had left it. I searched and dodged through the other people there and looked even more closely. At long last, I finally spotted something, but wasnít sure it was actually there. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. I walked closer, my steps growing increasingly nervous. I leaned down and kneeled right over it. I stood above it, blocking the sun and examined it closely. When I looked closely, I realized immediately that it was definitely mine, apparently undisturbed in the intervening time that had passed since I sent it into hiding.

It looked like one of its straps was sticking out from under a small mound. I pulled it upward, closer towards me to find the rest of the bag partially buried. I extricated more of it and was surprised that it was so well hidden. It had been covered up somehow by the wind. I knelt down and started to uncover it and recognized its distinct green and yellow stripes immediately which confirmed it was mine. Thanks to the accumulated layers of sand, it was rougher than I remembered but the contents inside were largely intact. I brushed more sand from it and finally extricated it from its hiding place beneath the surface. I took it up in my hand and held it up, letting the last grains of sand fall from it. It looked the same but something about it felt different though I couldnít quite figure it out at first. It seemed lighter than I remembered and smaller. I decided to open it in the middle of everyone since I was in a rush. I was apprehensive since I was surrounded by other people and didnít want to reveal too much. I took the bag in my hand and carefully opened one side, arranging so its contents wouldnít be visible to anyone. I looked inside and was greatly relieved to see that the disguise was still there. I took it out of the bag and the mysterious polka-dot dress glowed brightly in a strange supernatural red, brought back to life by the sunís pulsating waves from above. When I held it, the dress seemed to have an odd energy all its own. Currents of memories came flooding back to me instantaneously, and I suddenly felt my feet become light, like I was running up the hills again, anticipating seeing her once more. I held it in my hands and it didnít look any worse for the wear, and didnít even have a crease. No one had touched it since I had hidden it there. I was relieved that it hadnít vanished on me. I carefully placed it back in the bag. Fortunately, no one seemed to notice me. None of the other kids were nearby. My secret was safe. Relieved, I pulled the straps back in place and closed the bag.
I noticed that there was something else I hadnít noticed. There was a small outside pocket that seemed to have something inside, but I couldnít remember putting it there. I unzipped it and was surprised to see a small piece of paper, folded up and sealed with multi-colored rubber bands. I slid them off quickly and looked at the paper closely. When I held it, the paper felt old but the writing seemed to be more recent. I looked at it closely and didnít recognize its handwriting but I had an idea of who might have left it there for me. When I looked at it, the markings and symbols seemed deliberate yet tentative, like it had been written in a rush as a last resort. At first I couldnít understand what it meant. There were clusters of scribbled lines, incoherent words, mysterious symbols and strange abbreviations that m
ade little sense. Some of these resembled those that Iíd seen before but most of them were new to me, it was like reading a related yet different language. I tried to decipher it, but there wasnít enough for me to really understand what was written. I held it close to my eyes and looked closely at each element but its meaning was elusive, there were too many sections missing.  There were lines connecting some of the symbols with letters but they still didnít seem to add up. Turning in different directions revealed some other connections, though they werenít immediately obvious. I wondered what they were all pointing towards, but there wasnít a clear message. It seemed that most symbols seemed to be half-complete or missing parts, while others resembled random scratches and scribbles without any apparent meaning. I held the paper and isolated one section, breaking it down but made little progress. It seemed like it had been written in some strange code or language. I tried to look at the other side but it was blank.  I tried repeatedly to come up with a key or system that would decipher the meaning of those symbols but nothing worked.

I stood there lost in symbols and abstractions, the hot summer afternoon continued onward, the sun growing larger and hotter it reached its peak in the skies above. The hazy winds blew over the ocean, drawing its distinctive salty atmosphere onshore, which permeated the beach and made it feel like I was back in the ocean, navigating the surf and treading water while I stood on the edge. The breeze gave the air a different charge and I felt like the two were almost combining into one place for the moment. I stood there for a moment and soaked it all in, taking in a deep breath which helped recharge my mind while giving me a much needed respite. I took a few steps backward, placing my feet firmly into the sand, digging in against the stronger heat of noon. I looked back onto the ocean and saw its churning waters that seemed to be calling to me once more. I was tempted to run back into the ocean, but decided that I would need to complete my task first. I stood there and watched the rolling waves and thought of ways that these rhythms pushed and pulled out of each other. They seemed to roll over one another, clasping like hands sometimes, others moving against themselves, pulled in different, sometimes conflicting directions. As I watched the tides battle, it seemed like the waves themselves didnít know where the paths would take them. I stood and watched them slowly churning and felt the sun burning on my shoulders and it seemed like it was burning right through me, like I was an invisible shadow. It was an unexpected sensation, but it gave me an interesting idea that seemed like it could possibly help me decipher the message in some way. 

I held the paper upwards so it was directly underneath the sun. It seemed to glow and I noticed that there were some small red dots which were suddenly visible on the paper. They appeared throughout the page and I noticed that they were strategically placed. Looking closer, I saw that they changed position when I titled it at slightly different angles. Tilting it around in moving it in different directions made them appear in different places, almost like they were sliding on the paper as I moved it. Sensing I had come into an interesting angle, I experimented some more, I turned the paper in the opposite angle, with its other side face upwards and held it even higher, so it was almost directly under the sun, where its light would be the brightest. Every dot on the page seemed to glow warmly under the sun, turning more orange than red. They changed color and simultaneously, arrows and lines seemed to emerge, revealing previously invisible paths and connections between the scribbles under the sunlight. It took a few moments for me to take it in, but I slowly realized the previously hidden dots had coalesced with the visible symbols to form a map.

I examined it closely and tried to memorize its fleeting directions, holding it against the sun, trying to keep it at the right angle for as long as I could. I kept it close to myself and decided not to keep it high for too long. I didnít want anyone else to see what it contained, lest anyone be tempted to follow me. I held it in my hands for a few moments and tried to memorize its paths and clues, since I had no idea if its secrets would be revealed in other light or places. I took the paper and folded it once more, placing it carefully back in the bag. I took it in my hand and held it close, the straps held low so it wouldnít get lost or knocked away from me. I stood there for a moment and gazed around, there was no one really paying attention to me, and I didnít need to worry too much about anyone seeing what I was doing. I decided to be careful nonetheless and walked back down towards the shore. I carefully walked back and reached the edge of the beach, and saw the rocks peeking above the waves, the currents were drifting out once more and I could see the tide gradually falling, its waves slowly rolling back to sea. I walked in parallel to the waves downwind towards the end of water, until I found myself standing in front of the shore, on the opposite side from where I began. I looked over the surroundings and watched the sun still burning overhead, but it seemed a little different. The afternoon had grown in intensity as I walked and it seemed even higher in the sky. Its bright orange hue changed and was speckled with tinges of angry reds, but towards the bottom, the hazy coastal air had mixed in, giving its lower portion furtive greens that seemed to reflect the oceanic sea waters below. These changes combined in giving it a strange appearance unlike Iíd seen before, it was bright but now multi-hued, with colored stripes crossing its surface, creating a fiery spectrum in the atmosphere. It looked like it was on the cusp of burning up, its barely contained energy felt just about to burst. I wanted to see how this would affect my perception and pulled out the paper. I held it firmly and positioned it so that it directly beneath the transformed sun.

At first, the dots and lines glowed nearly exactly as they had before, but I noticed a change after a few minutes. The paper seemed to heat up quickly in my hand, almost like it was burning. The dots started glowing orange but changed as the paper began to heat rapidly until it was hot to the touch while the hidden symbols seemed to heat up even faster until they darkened significantly beneath the heat. I panicked when I saw what was occurring. I could begin to see the dots starting to dissipate nearly evaporating along their edges. As I held it under the sun, It felt like the paper was about to combust under the intense heat, and I quickly realized that it would quickly burn away to nothing if I didnít pull it away from the burning sunlight immediately. I quickly turned around away from the heat and brushed my hand off the pages, which had quickly grown hotter. I shook the page to cool it off and flapped it around a bit. I was worried that I had ruined it, but I couldnít have in such a short time. I took a close look at it and noticed that the dots and lines, which previously had been invisible in the shadow, were now burned onto the page. The sun had heated them just enough so that they were permanently visible, imprinted in black. I wouldnít have to worry about them vanishing. I wouldnít have to memorize its complex directions since they werenít going to disappear on me. I carefully placed the paper back into the bag and quickly returned my gaze towards the sun. It still raged in the skies above me, but its heat didnít seem to have the same strength, it looked lower in the sky and wasnít as hot. It felt like its power had been drained, it was dimmer and not burning as brightly.

I watched as the bright sun slowly reoriented itself in the sky, resuming its original shape. The heat seemed to cool, its colors set back to the usual orange and yellow, the skies surrounding it started to calm. I the other people on the beach seemed not to have noticed its sudden surge of energy that it could barely contain. I stood under its shadow and felt the paper in my hand, still warm and pocked with black dots. I held it up once more and the path it showed was clear but I wasnít sure if I was ready. It seemed like a complex drawn out journey that seemed to leave a lot of room for mistakes. I didnít want to dwell on it, and remained a bit tired from the long swim just before. I looked it over and tried to measure how long and how much effort it would take. I wasnít sure if I really wanted to go back out on the water again. I was relieved to be standing on solid ground and wasnít sure I really understood what was actually happening. I tried to make up my mind and looked around. No one was there to guide me, for a change, the decision was entirely up to me. Scanning the horizon, I saw a vast expanse of islands and water seeming to unfold, much of which I hadnít even thought about exploring. They were all too far away for me to reach, impossibly distant. I looked at the map once more and decided that it was pointless to continue, I had no idea where it was for or how to get there. It seemed to be a cruel puzzle where no solution would come to me. I carefully folded the map, concealing its secrets once more, and placed it back in the pocket. I didnít know what to do or where to go next, but I didnít need additional problems and kept the bag close, there was no need to have its secrets exposed needlessly.

I felt the ocean air push towards me once more and it seemed to be beckoning me to return in some strange way. I looked back and forth, finding myself torn between the ocean and land, unsure of which path to take. I looked out towards the distant islands, across the sound and wondered what else might be lurking there. I remembered the paths and walkways I had traveled on land and the things Iíd discovered along the way. I thought about the map and its strange markings and decided that it was best to save it for another time. I had no idea exactly where Iíd need it and making a rush probably wasnít the best idea. I watched the sun slowly slip into the distance, its angle slowly sloping downward towards the west, inevitably faltering from its height, making way for another nocturnal night. The afternoon shadows were growing longer and longer with each passing moment and I had to make a decision. I looked around me and searched for a sign and realized that I was already where I needed to be. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, allowing the warm summer air to relieve the tension. It seemed like things were slipping away from me and I knew that Iíd have to hold onto the map, saving the directions for another time.

Scanning the shoreline brought the odd and mysterious events of the past few days flooding back, and I searched for their meaning without much success. It seemed to defy rationalization and none of it seemed to add up. Time seemed to be playing tricks on me and there were encounters and occurrences I wasnít completely sure about. I remembered the boat I sailed on and the one that was sunken, and couldnít make the connections between them. I thought about how it felt when I discovered the mysteries and how she had stood in for and proven to me that things werenít always what they seemed. I remembered how we had gotten off the island, with patience and luck, but also how it had vanished behind me without warning, evaporating with the haze to vanish on a summer day. I thought of earlier encounters with her, the odd dances and moments, how she seemed to come and go, defiantly on her own terms. I didnít really understand everything, but there were a few pieces that seemed to fit together. Some of our encounters were strange and I wondered if they even happened. There were other events that still defied explanation. I stood there with all those thoughts but they subsided as I let the warm air wash over me. I felt the sun coming back for one last burst. The sky brightened momentarily and I saw my shadow extending itself, gradually lengthening on the sandy beach. It seemed to expand with each step I made. I watched it move beneath me as the sun sank into twilight. It seemed to contain all the things that had vanished. I worried what else would slip away and disappear next, I didnít know if there was anything I could rely on.

Even my eyes seemed to be playing tricks on me. I looked up and saw the sun seeming to flicker in the sky. I looked around and no one else seemed to notice. I thought I was seeing things, but it had been a long few days. After a few minutes, it seemed to stabilize and the sky reverted back to its usual appearance. I walked back towards the ocean. I studied my shadow and determined that it was getting too long. I took the bag in my hand, and it seemed a little heavier than I remembered. I held it close to my shoulder and decided I needed a change of scenery. I walked back towards the other side of the beach. The further I got away from things, the better I began to feel, my feet were lightening with each step. I could feel the burdens lifting from me. It took awhile, but as I got closer to the piers, a sense of relief came over me. I was finally back on solid ground. I felt the warm ocean air washing over me and it felt like a cleansing breath from the clouds in the skies. Walking faster, I found myself on its edge. I walked out towards the edge of the boards, creaking under my feet. Looking down, I could see the currents welling underneath, churning far below. Up there it was tranquil, the wind slowly dissipating, until things became absolutely calm. I looked above me and saw the sun had begun its slow descent towards the horizon. The afternoon had grown late, and it was slowly faltering from its peak. I could feel its heat diminishing, and I could sense slipping under the horizon, returning its hiding place. I prepared myself and switched positions, alternating my feet. I walked closer towards the outer reaches, dragging my left hand on the railings. I carefully navigated between other people and finally reached the outer edge.

I stood there for a moment and watched the ocean unfold in front of me, carefully surveying things, looking for some sign of what I had vanished. Nothing was visible, there was no trace of any of it, the diving platform or her disappearing boat. She had vanished into the ocean, without a making even a ripple on the waves. It was a disconcerting moment, I thought of all that time and energy spent, and felt there was little to show for it, at least on the surface. Underneath, I knew there was something out there, though I couldnít really prove or explain it. It had to stay hidden, at least for the moment. I decided not to give up and looked towards the islands for some inspiration. Their mysteries seemed to deepen as they drifted even further out, slipping back into the ocean. They seemed elusive, like a mirages, always staying just out of reach. I looked at them carefully, and tried to memorize their appearance and location as best I could. Eventually, theyíd disappear altogether. I knew I had to get back to them, but had no way of knowing when or how I would be able to. I felt the wind pick up and it slowly began to strengthen, blowing right through me onto the beach.  The dayís heat had dissolved into afternoon warmth, and I felt the air beginning to shift direction. The skies were getting darker, the first shadows of dusk signaled it was nearly time for me to leave. Before I left, I decided to take another look. I scanned in the other direction, towards the side of the beach I had been before. I felt a strange surge of energy coming from there. I looked closely until I located something I hadnít expected to see. At first, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. I had to close my eyes and look closer, leaning into the wind. I squinted and scanned the outer edges of the waves when something unexpected appeared in the distance. It was barely visible at first, coming into view slowly, like a mirage.

I held my breath and took it in. At the edge of the horizon, I spotted what looked like the shadow of a strangely familiar boat. I saw its sails at full mast, powering it quickly. I saw it going past the islands, rapidly reaching into the distance. I thought I saw someone standing on its stern, but couldnít make out who it was. I noticed it seemed to be fighting the wind, quickly moving in the opposite direction from the prevailing sea. It raced ahead and diminished, its shadow gradually becoming smaller, but I was able to follow it for several minutes until it completely vanished from view, lost in the waves beyond the horizon. Then, I felt the wind calm once more and silence followed.  I was alone again on the pier, a small kid standing there, looking out over on the edge, searching for the mysteries hidden under the ocean surface. I was holding onto a something, which was strange but no one seemed to notice me there. I stood back and scanned the others on the pier. None of them seemed to have realized what I was watching or knew the meaning behind what Iíd seen. In a strange way, I felt lucky and then looked back towards the sandy shores. From that perspective, the shoreline seemed to unfold in an endless expanse, going on for miles in each direction. I had traveled a long way and I was tired from the journey, but I knew I was only getting started. It seemed almost overwhelming with everything churning beneath the surface but, I wasnít dissuaded. I knew she would return, and would be waiting for me on another warm summer day.  

- Michael Palisano