It feels strange, to wake up in a world without them. A sudden stark realization that they are, simply put, no longer there.
And yet, we transition. This is the work of the mourners—to ease themselves back into life. The men continue on, their emotions dragging them so deeply that they touch the bottom. The women, well, we try to gather up our men from where they’ve sunk.
Their fingers plunge into the seafloor, grabbing at the soft and silted sand, scrambling for something to hold onto. Us looking down at them from just above the surface, calling loudly to them Please come back home.
Sometimes, when we have waited too long for an answer, we reach our fingers down and grab onto their hair. Pull them up and out, them sputtering and clawing their way free.
This is our work. Our repeated motions. Like water weavers, in and out our fingers through the tides. Our dresses cinched around our waists, the hems, heavy and soaked. Our feet and how they plant themselves into the ground, so that we will not fall with all their weight.
And the people on the beach, the onlookers, how they stand and stare and watch at our forlorn unravelling. Curious, how they nudge each other up against the sides. With a shoulder, an elbow, a light brush on the arm. Look at that, they say, and carry on.
The rest of the world moves on without us. It leaves us looking for the other parts of our own selves beneath the tide.