Monday, May 3, 2010

Drowning Your Troubles at Myrle Beach 5/3/2010

I was on my daily walk along Myrtle Beach. It was nearly deserted as the sun had abandoned the sky in favor of imposing storm clouds and wind. I noticed a young woman standing in the pounding surf. The waves would vary her exposure from knee deep to above her waist. It probably would not have seemed odd but she was fully clothed and not in any normal beach attire. She looked like she would have been more appropriately dressed for an office than wading. She was facing towards Portugal and even though water was splashing and the wind was howling, it was obvious she was crying.

My inclination was to walk on. Through the years I have developed immunity to women’s tears and a proclivity to not get involved in the problems of others. But there was desperation in this person that seemed imminent. So I walked to the edge of the water, within earshot, but not close enough to be threatening to her. I spoke softly but loud enough to be heard above the combers “are you all right.” She didn’t hear me or chose not to respond. The latter was the more likely. So, being the stubborn person that I am, I spoke a bit louder, using my command voice, “HEY, ARE YOU OK?’ A bit louder than I had planned, this made her body spasm, and immediately look back at me, probably fearing that an attack was forthcoming.

When she realized that I was not moving towards her, she replied unconvincingly, “yes, I’m all right, thank you.”

Her tortured face and tensely fisted hands told me that she was a bad liar and she was far from all right. “You don’t look all right,” I insisted, now engaged.

Her sobbing increased (I can have that affect) and between sniffles she shouted, “Leave me alone, I am going to end it! My life is over!”

But as she spoke, she staggered back towards the shore if only a few inches. I took this as an opening. “What could be so bad that you want to drown yourself?”
“I have nothing to live for.”

“Well, I don’t know you but surely things can’t be that bad.” I got as close to the water as I dared without my new Reebok walking shoes getting wet.

“My husband left me for another woman.”

“That is not worth killing yourself over. Sounds like he wasn’t a prize, anyway. Maybe you are better off without him.”

“He emptied our accounts and took everything.”

“That is just stuff, you can replace that.”

“I lost my job. She was my boss.”

“You can get another job.”

“They foreclosed on my house. I am homeless.”

“Lots of people are experiencing that. They find the strength to go on. There is always hope.”

I noticed a minuscule change in her demeanor and as she turned to face me I realized that beneath the despair she was very beautiful. I urged her, “come on out of the water and lets talk about it. Things are never as bad as they seem.”

She held her ground (or water) but at least her need to commit watercide had been temporarily quelled. She was at least listening. I took the initiative to continue the conversation. “You are young, beautiful, and have at least one nice outfit. You can always start over.”

Though the sobbing had stopped, the tears were still washing her cheeks. “It is so hard. I don’t know what to do. I just want the pain to be over.”

“Well, do you have any family or friends you can stay with until you get on your feet?”

“No,” she said. “All my family live up north, in Boston.” I thought I had detected a New England accent. But at least I had her talking.

“Well, let’s think positive, what do you enjoy?”

“I love baseball,” she brightened. “I am a huge Red Sox fan.”

I cringed. She suddenly did not look quite so appealing, but I managed to continue. This was a chance to save a life, after all. I took the conversation back on task. “The first thing you need is a job. What kind of work do you do?”

Sadly, she stammered, “well, up until today I worked for the South Carolina Democratic Party.”

“You know, you might be right. Life can be a real bitch. If you walk about a hundred yards that way,” pointing south, “the riptides are much stronger.“ I continued my walk up the beach.


Anonymous said...

I figured this was a story but was totally engaged through the whole thing! Great entry! Love you Carly

myrtle beached whale said...

Made it up on the beach. I started writing it and had an idea of where I wanted it to go but it took on a life of its own.

Anonymous said...

This is great....! I have to admit that knowing you as well and as for as long I have I was skeptical throughout. Carly is abosolutly right though, very engaging. Kinda like a twisted Jonathan Sparks. I had this whole visual thing going on. Good Job Mr. Ramblings clo

Roger Yale said...

Like I have said countless times, Mr. Wainright- you are a trip!

Carly's right - I was engaged until I smelled a rat with the Reeboks and the Red Sox.

Nice work!

orionsbow said...

Well, I would have emptied my pockets of all the change I had and taken off my shoes and given them to her for the extra weight. Brilliant, as usual, and damned funny, you rascal.

Forgetfulone said...

Wow! You really tricked me! Great story!

Shyam said...


Blondie said...

Too funny! As usual, your story caused me to burst out laughing, and my kids wanted to know what was so funny, so I read it out loud to them. Thanks for the laugh!

myrtle beached whale said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog. I can't even get most of my own family to read it. Yes Carly, I know you do.

keiths ramblings said...

Great story and a fantastic ending! Loved it.

WV LeAnn said...

Have followed you for almost a year now and never commented but couldn't resist today. What a wonderful story and REALLY had me going and I couldn't help but think what a wonderful man to help and then you got me, LOL!!!!!!!!!! Thanks so much for the Monday laugh, it felt good!

myrtle beached whale said...

LeAnn: Thank you so much for reading my drivel. I knew there had to be someone out there. As far as the story. No one who knows me well was fooled. I am not a nice man.

Chris said...

Oh my! You've done it again! Hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Hey, that's not true. The only reason I knew it was a story was the vivid imagery as I think in a moment of crisis like that, you wouldn't remember what she wore and the details of the scenery. You would definitely help someone in this type of situation. You just like to play like you wouldn't care. Love you. Carly

Anonymous said...

What a GREAT story, and a fantastic finish!!! I laughed so hard I think my husband is jealous!

Nadja said...

Okay, so I was on the verge of tears, and now I'm laughing. You are too funny, and I love your taste in music!