I hope this letter finds you well. I have taken a long and rainy journey from St. Louis to Emerald Isle, NC in hopes of escaping the every day drive to nowhere, in search of the mundane, someplace I can carve out as my own. So far, I've been down to the Food Lion for a pork loin and some potato chips. The folks here are really nice. Everyone smiles and people cuss so little I've almost stopped. Mostly, I sit in this rocking chair and stare out at the sea. The waves are so close that, at night, I can see the sparkle of the moon on the crests from my bedroom window. It makes me think of the war and how intently I used to watch the ocean from the ship thinking about you all back home and what it meant to belong and to be understood. In every little gas station I passed along the way here, I thought about Korea and my life then, and now.
I've taken to walking along the beach in the morning, getting lost out by the foamy water, getting my pants wet to the knee. I need to get some shorts if I'm going to stay on longer than a few weeks. Even people with bright white legs need shorts in the summertime. Though my heart belongs to the sea, I sure do miss you guys and Scott Terriot out there on the beautiful plains of Kansas full of Oreo cows and deep blue skies so far the eye can't see the end.
This place sits on a narrow strip of land so skinny it likes to remind me of a piece of beef jerky. There's but one road in and out. How did the old timers know when a hurricane was brewing enough to evacuate? Right out my back door there's no guard, no large, waving flags showing the danger of rips tides and such. The rental company told me to be aware of changing conditions. If I go out to dip my toes, it could be fatal. This is the fear we all live with like a cloud of annoying gnats. Since the rain stopped at sunrise I've been glad to tempt fate out there, with the crash and roar and pelicans flying by in rank.
The grey is still time spent not working, no phone to ring, with coffee hot, lights hushed, and me in a dream, calmer. This takes my blender and puts it back to the on-kilter setting. Though everyone loves the ride to the carnival, it overwhelms me. Don't fuss, now, the last time I did drugs was in the 70's, and a short spell with my marriage tackle in a hitch on account of the flashbacks, particularly the daydream about a mermaid and the depths she swam down to are all behind me now.
Even thirty years on, I'm trying to find that one, with or without the scales.
I'll close for now. It's getting late. I've been walking a stray dog just before the sun goes down (or maybe he has been walking me?) and I might just make him a pet, a nightswimmer, a friend, or maybe all three.
I know you're both dead and gone, but, with this letter, reading like a car on an icy road, I somehow feel you're not so far away at all.
Warm regards, yours truly,
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