The harsh blistering sun rays cut my arm in two, a new and furious ocean grabbed at my feet, and the sand wrapped around my legs, morphing into rusty, barbed wire. I slipped my headphones on and the blistering sun, the furious ocean and the thorny bed I sat on faded into a peaceful nothingness. The horizon, the rolling palm trees and the sun rimmed seashells enveloped my mind. I wiped my tears away with the back of my hand and, for a moment, felt a tiny bit of happiness, momentous under the circumstances. I believed in my headphones.

I picked up the phone, hours before, not knowing who was calling.  It was my cousin Katie… It had been years since we talked. The day was calm, monotonous. My mother had left to get groceries and my sister was nowhere to be seen. “Sarah, I know exactly how you feel.” I was confused. She was not even my friend on Facebook. I sighed as I remembered that it was Friday the 13th. Annoyed with what I thought was a prank call, I kept listening because I considered hanging up would be rude. “I remember when I was your age, when my father passed away and…” A ringing replaced her voice, my sight disappeared, and I discovered that no amount of crying, no amount of tears would be enough to drown the choking news.

My dad died that day. I did not care that it was Friday the 13th, I did not care that the heat was unbearable. I did not care that the plants needed watering, or that I needed to wash my face. I did not care. I just did not care. My mom opened the door sometime afterwards. “Mom, did dad die?” She just cried.

My fingers craved sand. My whole existence begged for the sea. I cried enough to create my own, but it was not enough… I needed the sand. Between gasps, I ran to the nearest beach. I got lost in that never ending Mobius strip of sand. Infinite, permanent, eternal, but it was not the same, and my lungs could not bear it. I felt betrayed, the ocean breeze used to hug and comfort me, but that day it did not. The waves would assure me that everything was ok, but that day they did not. I could not cry, but I also could not live. So I desperately untangled my headphones from my pocket, clicked play, and for the first time that day, I stopped missing my father’s hugs, I stopped hoping to get a message from him, and I stopped needing him to come up behind me to tell me that he’s all right. For a moment there, as I sat on the infinite sand, I just wanted louder headphones. Louder headphones so I could listen to Spaceman from the Killers, just to feel like I was in the car with him once again. To listen to Money from Pink Floyd, just to have him explain the lyrics to me once more. To listen to Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by AC/DC, so that he could relive his teenage memories right beside me.

So if you want to know what I believe in, it’s pretty simple and it’s pretty loud. Whether it be on top of a mound of restful sand or in the backseat of a car, I can be with my father any time I want. I just need my headphones and my memories.