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The Plot of Life

She put down her brushes. A soft breeze blew up from the ocean. The sound of the waves breaching the shore came to her with the faint scent of brine. She walked from her studio, wandered away from her house, down to the porous lava rock ledges and from there to the beach below, past the iguanas hiding in crevices, past yellow and orange flowers ablaze in the morning sun, their heads nodding in the wind, under overarching palm fronds and tree ferns the size of small houses, until she reached the soft sand. There she began to walk, following the curve of the shoreline for miles until she was tired and thirsty. Finally she came to the next village along the beach, far from the California surfers and the bead and trinket sellers, far from her village of mixed peoples and horses along the beach. At the next village she stopped where an old friend had a small café. She sat at a table facing the Pacific and drank cold beer and studied the blue water that had been her inspiration for so many years.

Looking out now, she saw nothing but the horizon line which seemed no longer like a mysterious and endless puzzle. Today that water looked to her as if the horizon had become, overnight, a line that ended rather than reached into an unknown future. She sensed her life, like that line, was like a storm hovering over the sea, not yet ripe enough to let go of its fullness, but simply hovering in gray limbo above the water.

She sat for the entire day, watching the waves roll one after the other in an endless pattern of building and collapsing, watching the foam spray caught by the wind and then tumbling onto itself until it spread like a flood up the sand bank only to recede to meet the overwash and disappear below the next wave. She knew there were currents in the water that stayed separated from each other, even though it was not possible to see them. Yet these currents remained true to themselves traveling the world over and returning to their origins again and again in an endless round. She felt sad and alone, as if the world had abandoned her the way the waves abandoned the shore, the way Lita had run off with her lover, the way, so many years ago, she had been forgotten and left to deal with Lita’s birth – when she had discovered that people do not always do what they say they will and that life does not follow a plan.

Isabel Part 2, Episode Fifteen

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