Inside the Mind of a Bibliophile

Message In a Bottle

The ocean is more beautiful than I’d imagined when we planned this trip. It was set for spring so the weather wouldn’t be too hot. If I’d had my way, I’d be in Colorado right now fully clothed. At least the weather here is just cool enough in March to enjoy the beach with a T-shirt and shorts on.

The beer’s still shit, but once you get past your fifth DosXX it’s almost drinkable. Once this one’s gone, I’ll have to pack up my towel and walk to that little liquor store I stopped at on my way down. That fat little Mexican will be happy to take more of my money, I’m sure. American dollars are probably what keep this little town alive. Although, I’m sure, just barely.

I still don’t see why we couldn’t have booked a resort like normal people. Oh I’m sorry, they’re not authentic Mexico. They’re just cheaper versions of every mundane beach town found in the United States. Well not all of us are comfortable being practically naked in front of other people in broad daylight. Not all of us spend an hour and a half at the gym three times a week, and some of us are just disgustingly hairy. My first trip to a water park resulted in a six year old girl breaking down with tears of fear the second I removed my shirt. So no, I haven’t spent a lot of time in beach front USA.

He swallowed the last big gulp of his sixth beer and put the empty bottles back in their carrier then picked up his towel. He made his way back up toward the road where he found a trash can to ditch the empty six pack. With his hands in his pockets and the towel draped around his shoulders, he began the walk toward the liquor store he’d stopped at, as it opened, a mere hour ago.

I would’ve liked to have visited San Diego. I might’ve even loved Maui or the Carolina’s, but noooooo. She didn’t want to be anywhere she’d been with anyone else in the past. It’s not my fault she slept around so damn much. I don’t have a million ex’s I’ve taken past vacations with. Why do I have to suffer for her past experiences.

According to her, honeymoons are supposed to be special. I don’t see what’s so special about doing what she wants to do. That’s no different than any other day in her world. Doing something I want  too for a change, now that’d be something special.

I wish I’d of known then she wasn’t gonna be here with me. I’d be in Colorado right now. I’d be at my friends house which, unlike the shit hole hotel we booked here in Ensenada, would be free. I’d also be high and walking into a normal fucking liquor store, and I’d be buying much better beer. Of course she’d want to honeymoon in a country where I can’t find a single decent IPA.

There is a leather strap hanging from the inside of the door handle with six bells attached to it. They jangle as he opens the door to the shack of a liquor store and stumbles inside. The short Mexican man looks up from his paper as his silence is interrupted.

This is probably all that fat guy does with his life. He’s got this shop, and he just sits here in it all day long. I bet he even lives upstairs somewhere. He just sits there and reads that paper all day. Then, when it’s time to close up, he locks the door and heads upstairs. I bet he doesn’t even shower before heading to bed. I’m getting two of these this time because I’ve got no desire to see this guy again today.

“You back quick,” the attendant said in his best attempt at english as the two six packs of DosXX are placed on the counter. The door’s bells ring again as a barely dressed woman enters the store. She looks at the two men, one on either side of the counter, and smiles. The attendant smiles back while he obliviously pulls the money out of his wallet to cover his beer. The attendant takes his money, returns his change, and places both of his six packs into their own plastic bag. He grabs a bag in each hand and walks out the door without saying a word.

I wish I could’ve been refunded for this trip because it sure would’ve been better to just have that cash in hand. Then I could’ve done what I wanted. This is supposed to be the slow season for tourists here, but I don’t see how they’ve ever got a busy season. The ocean is a million times more beautiful than the picture, but it smells like shit. It’s got to smell worse in the heat. That’s probably the real reason the hotels here are so cheap. Who the hell would want to go swimming at the shit beach?

He stagers down towards his previous spot before laying his towel out on the sand and sitting back down. He dug hole next to his bowl with his hands then set his beers inside. He carefully buried them up the their necks with sand then laid on his back.

I suppose it is nice she was willing to cover the cost of our honeymoon. Not that she really had a choice if she wanted a honeymoon, but it is her fault I was always so broke. Always wanting to go out and do things. That woman was incapable of sitting still, drove me fuckin nuts. If she were here right now, she’d probably wanna go for a fuckin walk.

The sun has reached it’s highest point in the noon sky, and he’s begun to get uncomfortably warm. He pulls a beer up from the sand by it’s neck and shoves it into the side velcro pocket of his cargo shorts. He did the same with another then pulled out a third and popped the top of of it with his keychain bottle opener.  He picked up his towel, shook it free of sand, and spread it out over the remaining bottles barely poking their way up from the sand.  Then he began walking toward the water.

I can’t believe how cold this water is. She always said the Pacific Ocean was cold, but she loved to exaggerate. Walking down here, with the waves splashing against my calves, feels twenty degrees cooler. I’ve already stopped sweating. She always said she loved laying on the beach when she lived in San Diego. She’d read until she began to sweat, then she’d walk the ocean’s edge to cool off. Makes sense.

He chucked his first empty bottle out into the ocean as he walked along the edge of the water and the cold waves washed over his feet.  He stopped and turned toward the water before he removed the beer from his left cargo pocket. Staring out at the water, he popped the top from it with his key chain bottle opener and tilted it back for a long chug. Then he flicked the bottle cap into the ocean before continuing his wander along the shore.

Yeah, if she were here, we’d be on a walk right now. It wouldn’t be logical though. We wouldn’t be walking to cool off, definitely not. We’d be walking to talk, to converse. Communication. That’s what we were missing you know? We never had enough communication. It wasn’t enough she had control of my life. Oh hell no. She wanted to be in control of my thoughts too. Wanted to know each and every one of em. That woman never got enough talking done.

She insisted I hear about every damn thing made her happy. As if that wasn’t enough, she wanted to hear ’bout everything made me happy too. She said she wanted to learn how to MAKE me happy. Fuck that. No one’s learning how to make ME anything. That’s why I never told her I wanted our honeymoon in Colorado. She would have made sure we went there to “make me” happy.

His stride had grown faster and angrier, but he stopped abruptly and turned towards the water. He hurled the second empty bottle into the ocean with rage. He put his hands on his hips before awkwardly protruding his midsection towards the water. His mind wandered as he held his pose for a few moments then grabbed his third beer from his right cargo pocket. He extended the bottle out in front of his face. He stared at it for a few moments before removing a bit of condensation from beneath his right eye. Then he removed the bottle cap and flicked it into the sea before turning back toward his towel.

No one should ever be in control of any one else’s emotions. It’s not healthy. I didn’t want to be in control of hers, and I sure as fuck didn’t want her in control of mine. My mom counted on my dad to make her happy. She wasn’t even a real person after he left. It crushed her. God, if she knew why he left it’d kill her. It’s a blessing she’ll never know what I saw. My mom’s crazy enough already. There’s no way I’m covering her tab in a nut house for how ever many years she’s got left in her.

He chucked his third bottle into the water and walked up through the hot sand, approaching his towel just as his feet lost the chill of the ocean and began to burn. Standing on one end of the towel, he shifted the opposite end toward the left, enough to expose his protruding bottlenecks. Then he plopped down on his towel in a fumble fashion before leaning on his shoulder to grab his fourth beer.

I don’t understand why people love beaches so much. More interesting landscapes, to look at, do exist. She always wanted to be in the sun. She was constantly talking about how happy it made her to improve her tan. Well I can’t get comfortable in the sun. She’d just assume I was there to make her happy, and where would that lead us? Besides, the sun causes cancer. It’s not logical to just sit in it all day long.

He set his fourth empty bottle down on the ground before restocking his cargo shorts and popping the top from his fifth. He stood up with his feet planted on the embroidery at the edge of his towel closest to the water. Then he proceeded to shift the towel back over to the right until it concealed the last five green bottle necks growing from the sand. Oncer the gold tops of the bottles were covered, he turned and began walking back towards the water. He took the last swig as he approached. He hurled the bottle forward then turned along the shore and opened his sixth.

I wonder if anyone knows I’m here. I told one guy at work I was thinking about taking this trip even though she was gone, and he jumped down my throat. You would have thought I told him plans for a bank-robbery the way he went babbling on. I laughed it off as a joke and learned to keep my mouth shut in the future. I told every one I was going to stay with my family for a week in order to combat my heightened stress. My family, of course, knows work keeps me tied up from any free time I could use to visit. This all allowed me to sneak away without suspicion.

I’m not sentimental enough to let a trip of this expense go to waste. She paid for it, so I’m going to enjoy it. It’s her own damn fault she’s not here anyway. Why’d she always have to try and make me feel a certain way? My dad didn’t know how to make himself happy. That’s why he ended up sleeping with someone else when my mom stoped making him happy. He didn’t have control of his own feelings, so he fucked up. That’s what happens when your emotions aren’t controlled. Bad things.

The sixth empty bottle washed away with the waves as he dropped it at his feet. It was followed by a bronze bottle cap as he opened his seventh. The air began to cool as the sun rotated to a three o’clock sky. The beer kept him from noticing the chill.

If she were here right now, she’d make me wrap my arms around her. She was always trying to cuddle like that. It was always so uncomfortable because it took the friendship out of it. That’s when it would become sexual, but not in a place we could have sex. There’s no logical sense to that. She’d get so mad every time I said so. She’d swear up and down sex was better with anticipation. There’s no way I was gonna give her control over my sex drive.

He violently hurled the seventh empty bottle into the ocean before sprinting back to his towel. He collapsed along side the mound of bottle necks and proceeded wheezing like an asthmatic.

It’s no wonder I couldn’t fuck her the way she wanted me to. I used to run miles like they were nothing, but now I get winded after a couple of yards. She made me this way though. She refused to cook healthy like I’d asked. She was constantly making pasta and red meat. I’d told her several times I wanted to eat cleaner, but did she listen?

Once he finally regained his breath, he plucked the eighth DosXX from the sand and consumed it in one gulp. After wiping the spillage from his lips he plucked the ninth out from the sand and took a small sip. This was difficult to do because the beer had reached that cool warm temperature ideal for guzzling.

If she were here, she’d definitely be wasted by now. She’d be sitting here trying to get my shirt off against my will. Before long she’d start working on getting me in the ocean naked. She was always trying to get me to fuck her in public places.

He restocked his cargo shorts and carried the last two off in his right hand as he made his way back towards the water. He used his key chain bottle opener to remove the coper top from his ninth beer and flung it towards the ocean.

That’s all she’d want to do if she were here ya know? She’d just wanna talk and fuck. She never wanted to sit still. She couldn’t last five whole minutes without movement, let alone time enough for us to relax together a bit.

He’d been walking towards a mound of rocks extending out into the ocean like a small pier. Once the distance shortened, he was able to make out the shape of a woman with brown hair sitting back against it. For a brief moment his heart raced as he mistook the woman for his fiancé writing in the journal she always carried with her. Reality set in as he eliminated more distance between them. He noticed the woman was not her, but she was writing in a journal. He clumsily lobbed his eleventh beer towards the ocean. It wedged neck down into the sand next to him as he approached the mystery writer. “My fiancé is a writer,” he said to the woman. “Her pen died,” he lied before asking if she had another to spare. The woman reached into her bag and handed him a pen without word. He took it from her, stuck it in his pocket, and turned back towards his towel. He walked away, also without a word.

I’m glad she’s not here right now. I’m glad we never got married. Getting married is an archaic ritual anyway. She was never gong to be one to stick around, so it’s much better it happened this way.

He ripped the left sleeve from his T-shirt and removed the pen from his pocket. He swallowed the last half of his twelfth beer and began writing, “I’m so so sorry I killed you,” on the scrap of fabric removed from his shirt. He finished with, “Wish you were here.” He rolled up his message and shoved it into his last bottle. Then he sent his message in a bottle out to sea with some sad hope she’d find it from wherever she’d ended up. He grabbed the beach towel he’d used to shelter his beer, and walked towards the pier.

She’d specially ordered eight foot long beach towels for their honeymoon. She’d had them embroidered with their names and wedding date. She’d spent months trying to find towels four feet wide by eight feet long before stumbling upon a custom fabric store online. She wanted to ensure they could spend a day on the beach with out him unhappy about the sand. She’d been ecstatic when she’d found them, and imposed herself upon him with her excitement.

He flashes back to this moment as he ties one end of the towel to a piece of the railing at the edge of the pier. He sees the familiar look of disappointment in her eye at his lack of enthusiasm while he ties the other end around his neck. “I was never going to make you happy,” he whispers to her as he throws himself from the side of the Ensenada fishing pier.

She’d shown him the pier while attempting to sell him on her resort choice. She’d talked of how romantic it’d be to hold hands while looking out over that exact edge. He envisioned the photo they would have had someone take of the two of them, there at that very edge holding hands and in honeymoon love, just before his neck snapped.

image-Megan Groff



2 thoughts on “Message In a Bottle

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