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I have a foot in sand at the edge of the water. I feel the suck as the wave laps and pulls back out to the deep. The sand is wet but firm, cool after the sun has started its descent. Green lights slowly flicker on the distant pier, and the sound of gulls and breakers is all-encompassing and all-compelling. The day-job is non-existent and my blood pressure is flatline.
My wife and I share the sunset (from the wrong coast, of course) and the knowledge of years and experience. We are on Crescent Beach in St. Augustine, just south of my formative years in Jacksonville, on our ninth anniversary getaway trip. We have a 7:30 reservation for a Spanish/Cuban bacchanal at the Columbia Restaurant in St. Augustine, but right now we’re lingering, taking in the moment, hoping to throw this unforgettable moment to the sand and hold it in place forever.
We were wed in Seattle, where my wife is from, on June 21, 2003, and returned to our Maine home after a one-night honeymoon at Mount Rainier (where we spent the night in separate twin beds). On our first anniversary we happened to be visiting a friend in Brooklyn, and we spent the day at Coney Island and then bar-hopping across the East Village and Brooklyn. Precedent set, we decided to be Somewhere Else for every anniversary. This plan has brought us to coastal Maine, Montreal, Washington D.C., San Diego and back to New York. And now, back to Florida.
The above scene is how I envision our ninth anniversary unfolding as I write this on the Sunday before. It’s a moment that we’ll remember forever for us. And it’s also a triumph for me as I continue the re-write of my life. Eight years removed from the sands of Brooklyn, I am now toe-deep in the sands of my past, reclaiming the trauma of my pre-teen years and reclaiming this patch of earth for us.
However today unfolds, I am eternally fortunate to be spending it with my soul-partner and best friend. Happy ninth, love. The best is yet to come.