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  • On an 80 degree October Sunday, my best friend and I took the train heading to Coney Island in Brooklyn. Aside from the Sunday blues, there was that familiar feeling I had as a child when my family took me to the Caspian Sea, to my cousin’s beach house. The feeling that comes with knowing you can savor something for only a limited time before it is over. My best friend was moving back to her home in Ohio, so there was that sense of nostalgia too, for someone who is about to leave, as I often encounter in my life.

    We swam in the ocean, though the water was still chilly and the winds blew mildly, the sun slowly fading as the afternoon fell into the evening. Nostalgia came then, like an aftershock of the cold water, like a lingering sickness of the past. We watched a pregnant woman in a floating beach dress being photographed as she posed on a rock down below by the water. We watched the water as it sparkled in all kinds of colors and we said goodbye to that last piece of sun left in the sky. I stood on a rock and posed for a picture. I stood on a rock, and nostalgia sank even deeper into my now salty skin.

    On the train ride back neither of us said much. We listened to my iPod, and like most passengers, overcame with sleep, that special fatigue after a cold swim. The cold water had made us tired, but really it was the fatigue of being young and not knowing what to do about it, what to want, how to have the things we thought we wanted. The ride was almost two hours long, and I savored every moment, remembering the water, the peace, the solitude, the pretty sun.

    It sort of is like Déjà Vu, this nostalgia that I’ve grown to know so much. I can remember all the times my family spent by the Caspian, and then future times where I spent time alone near a body of water, and had that same longing, the same feeling for the waves, for an eternity of freedom. I am not sure what I search for as my eyes scan the tops of the water, then the surroundings, then the deeper ends, the farthest sight. I long for something, something that isn’t quite there, something that may or may not exist. Perhaps it is a longing to be at peace, like when I used to be as a child before my father left and everything changed. Before I knew about America and what it would do to our lives, before I would learn that what we had wouldn’t have been good for me. But the waves never answer. They never leave me at peace, but overwhelm my emotions, my yearnings. Yet I always look back. I always come back. I always return to the waves.
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