It was our first vacation in years and I was jittery with excitement. I was also nervous, but kept thinking that maybe this time would be different. We packed up the kids’ belongings and our own, and threw everything into the car.
The drive to the ocean side rental house was only seven hours away and I could hardly wait to get there. It had been years since I had seen the ocean and it would be the first time for the kids.
As we began our drive, the kids were bouncing in the back of the car with huge smiles spread across their faces. They were just as thrilled as I was. As I listened to them giggle with each other, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of dread come over me.
Every vacation that we had ever gone on before, was quickly ruined by arguments and anger filled conversations. They never ended well and normally didn’t start well either. However, this time I was very pleased. We had successfully driven 5 hours and not a single sign of negativity yet. It was great! Maybe this time would be different.
A couple hours later, the little silence we had was broken, when suddenly the kids shrieked loudly with excitement. We had just topped over a hill where the ocean could be seen clearly before us. It went on for miles, until the water met the sky. It was beautiful!
Soon we pulled up to the rental house and began unpacking the car. There wasn’t much and with the four of us, it took hardly no time at all to get everything inside. Up to that point, the vacation was very smooth.
Once everything was unpacked, we all put on our sandals and grabbed a few water bottles. We were excited, ready to head out the door and feel the sand between our toes. My joy could hardly be contained.
Then out of nowhere, raised voices could be heard throughout the house. One of the kids slammed a door. The other one curled up on the couch visibly angry, and my husband took his sandals off, seemingly giving up on the vacation entirely. Evidently something was said, which made everyone angry.
Why does this happen every time we go somewhere? Why can’t we have a good vacation for once? With tears welling up in my eyes, I took a deep breath and walked out the back door.
The smell of the ocean filled the air and the waves could be seen crashing against the shore. I walked down the hill and gazed out at the stunning view. The ocean seemed to go on forever. After removing my sandals, I began strolling down the shore. The waves flowed over my feet, and the sand felt cool as it settled between my toes with every step.
Off in the distance, on top of a hill, was a large rock overlooking the ocean. I hesitated walking over to it, in fear that my family would be worried if they couldn’t find me. Turning back to look at the house, I was hoping to see at least one of them walking toward me, so we could enjoy the ocean together. To my disappointment, there was no one. I was alone.
Slowly I walked over to the rock and took a seat on top of it. It was the ideal spot to relax and take in the view. I listened to the waves and watched as the day turned into evening. A storm was brewing and clouds began to overtake the sky, but I was in no hurry to get back. After all, what was there to get back to?
Soon it began to get dark and the only light that could be seen, was the moon reflecting off the water. It had been hours now and still no sign of anyone. As I sat there listening to the thunder off in the distance, I felt so alone. What was supposed to be a fun and memorable vacation for our family, had once again turned into a nightmare.
Tears began rolling down my cheeks as I stared off into the night sky. Then I felt a gentle touch on my back. “Momma. The ocean is so pretty. Can I sit with you and watch it?”
“Of course you can, sweetheart.”
Wrapping my arms around my child, I wiped the tears from my eyes. Sitting together in silence, we gazed out at the ocean. The thunder was louder and lightening flashed across the clouds, but the moonlight was still reflecting off the water.
That’s when it hit me. I wasn’t alone. This was only a storm. Storms come, but beyond every storm, there is light.
This fictional story is in response to Cognitive Reflection’s prompt: “Once More With Feeling“