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A Message By Sea

by Shakera Reid-Stewart  
6/19/2007 / Short Stories

Margaret stood at the far end of the cliff, dangerously close to the edge. The water below furiously lashed out at the jagged rocks as they crashed against them time and time again. She could smell the salty seawater and the cool, refreshing breeze whipped her hair back and caused her lengthy summer dress to billow about.

She remembered how the day had started and how happy she had been. She woke up to the romantic memories of the night before and the sweet scent of a single, red rose on her white satin pillow. She undoubtedly had the best husband in the world, she thought to herself, as she recalled their conversation earlier on this morning.

"I can't ever imagine my life without you," he had said. "I'll love you forever."

"I love you too, Stephen," she replied "Thank you for the best ten years ever! I just wish you didn't have to go away this weekend."

"I know, but duty calls. When I get back from New York, we'll continue the celebration, okay?" With that response, he gave her a kiss and off he went.

Stephen was a banker who frequently traveled out of town for business. Margaret remembered that when they first got married, she used to travel with him, but after the children came along, it was too hard to get away. She missed him while he was gone, but life with him was good. She eagerly looked forward to another ten years with him.

Later on that day, her best friend Susan called to find out if she wanted to spend the day at a private resort about an hour away down the coast. She had heard great things about it and always wanted to go with Stephen, but they never made it. The kids were away for the summer in California, and Stephen wouldn't be back until Monday. No sense in just sitting here pining for them, so she packed a day bag and they were on their way.

It was a beautiful day and when they pulled up to the resort, it was heavenly. It was as if God had taken out His paintbrush that same day and touched up creation. She longed to share this with Stephen. They would have to come back to this spot. After checking in, they made their way to the beach. They laid out their towels in the lounge chairs and basked in the glorious sun for a few hours.

Margaret loved to observe people around her, especially in a place like this. To her left, a dog was barking and running along with a man jogging, three kids were busy building a sand castle as their mother set up their lunch, and an elderly couple held hands as they strolled along the beach. To her right, she saw some teenagers tossing a Frisbee around, and then she noticed a couple locked in a loving embrace down the beach.

As she began to shift her gaze, there was something nagging at her. Something was familiar; something was strange. While she took in the man's stature, his physique, his height, his hair, his trunks, she absently got up and slowly crossed the distance between her and the couple. It was almost like she was in a trance. Step after step, her heart raced faster and faster. She was oblivious to Susan's voice calling her and inquiring about where she was heading. She reached close enough to the couple to hear their conversation, and received the dreaded confirmation. Even though his back was turned, the words that he uttered identified him.

"I can't ever imagine my life without you," he said to the woman who stood before him. "I'll love you forever."

Not knowing what to do, Margaret changed her course abruptly and kept walking down the beach. She increased her paced to a brisk walk, then to a slow jog, and then she was running, and running until her heart felt as if it would give out. The tears streamed down her face as she ran. Could her perfect life be unfolding in this way? How could Stephen have done this to her? She walked to the highest point of the resort, secluded and sparsely populated with visitors who were in awe of the view.

As the sun began to set, she kept looking down at the raging sea. Stephen was her life and her heart belonged to him. There was no hope of going on; he was all she knew. She looked down again longing to join the chaos below. After all, her life was already in shambles. Down there is where she belonged.

"Oh God!" she cried out in anguish. "How can this be happening to me?" she asked as the fatigue and frustration took over her body.

Suddenly, the sea began to calm. There was no more crashing and no more chaos, just a gentle lapping of water as the sun went down. It was as if time stopped just for her. The darkness of the evening settled around her and she remembered her children. She remembered her love for them and how much they needed her. Then she remembered God. He had sent her a message through nature. She heard Him in her heart. "I can calm the raging sea, I can stop the chaos. All in time"

It was at that point that she realized how close she had been to the edge, but God had pulled her back. With one last look, she turned around and made her way back to the resort to face certain disappointment and heartache. She went up the cliff feeling enraged and despondent, but as she descended she knew that she would be okay. Margaret knew that as she made her way back, she would be leaving with an angel.

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Shakera Reid was born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Miramar, Florida. Her passion in life is counseling and educating youth. Hobbies include reading, writing and watching movies. Her hope is to encourage others through her writing and to help them in their Christian walk.

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