I delivered a bit of my Grampa to the sea.
For the last years of his life, he was land-locked in Colorado, but I remember him riding the waves, hauling lines, and hollering ‘coming about’ without seeming to raise his voice. An impossible feat, surely, to holler in our own voice. But he did it.
Sweet iced tea and sandwiches with Nana.
Plastic covered cushions doubling as flotations for jumping off the back for a dip.
Bouncing on the bow with my little plastic cup, dipping down into the waves to catch a jelly fish.
Spray flying, my brother laughing in the wind, his eyes reflecting the sun.
Avoiding the hatch opening that threatened to put a lump on your head like it did his.
My grampa’s thick fingers that so delicately built miniatures. Thick fingers holding my hand softly through calluses. My dad has his hands.
It was only right to bring him to the sea.
I found a beach on the Atlantic. In the waves were tiny boats with tiny riders having their sailing lessons. It was only right that he join the sea and these new riders.
I left my shoes by the rocks and wondered whether anyone would know what I was doing. I pulled my legs through the waves, springing up on my toes with each oncoming wave, keeping the camera slung over my shoulder above the spray.
Off came the lid of the little tea tin, down I dunked it into the water, and there he swirled around my calves, foaming white with the Atlantic.
And I walked away, breath in my nose, salt on my face, sea spray at my back.