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The Last 24-Hours

The day I had been dreading for months was upon us, Jackie was leaving for Korea in 24 hours. We had to do something special of course, but what? While we had been to the Oregon coast twice, we had yet to see the magical Hug Point completely. We were determined to do just that.

First we had to drop Jackie's car off at the dealership. She certainly couldn't take that with her; there is a 50 pound limit on luggage and the car, while not large, weighed a bit more than that. It took awhile to transfer all the paperwork over, but it finally was taken care of and we were able to leave. I would be driving us to the coast. Jackie had a way, way better car than me so she did nearly all the driving since we've known each other. I was sort of nervous to be the driver now.

We hit the road and it was a beautiful, sunny day. Those had been less and less frequent over the past couple months. We got lucky. The drive from Portland to the coast is calming. You feel hugged by the trees which line the road. Safe.

We arrived. We walked down the stairs to the beach and the tide was still low enough for us to explore. Jackie wanted to show me the waterfall and some other places around the bend. The tide receded enough for us to cross. We had to jump on rocks and wait for it to go back again, but we were able to make it. At one point I stepped in a hole and sunk to my knee in water. One leg was soaked. We got to the waterfall and immediately found a dead sea lion. At least I think it was a sea lion. That was really sad. The thing was so cute and little...

The water was coming up too much for us to go any further unfortunately. We headed back. The tide was much higher this time and we got stuck on a rock for a few minutes waiting. Finally we decided to run for it and hope we wouldn't get too wet. As I was running, I stepped on a stone under the water and it turned in the soft sand. I fell and landed hard on my broken hand. Pain shot through my hand. I jumped up instantly and kept running. No fun being drowned by the Pacific Ocean probably. When I caught up to Jackie she had no idea I had fallen, but I was covered in water and sand. My hand throbbed but I was more worried about my camera. She cleaned it off and removed the battery and memory card. It dried and worked perfectly.

We went in the opposite direction and were able to make it much easier. The ocean extends forever. It is amazing to think, this water, which so easily became dangerous today, has been sailed by humans for so long, that people fought wars on it, that people cross it every day and did years ago with lesser technology.

My dad called to make plans for me going to Farmington for Christmas. Then Jackie and I headed to the bench at the entrance to the beach in order to sit down and relax.

You are a jerk, Water.
It was disappointing to not be able to see more. It meant a lot to Jackie to take me there because of one instance in the past when she went there alone. I remember that night well. She went camping alone and went to Hug Point early in the morning. The entire time we were texting, I was living in El Paso. I laid in my car and stared at the stars while she described what she was doing. The Red Sox fell out of the playoffs in an epic collapse that night. I watched the game with my dad and ate a salad. She said she was falling for me. In the morning she sent me pictures of the serenity she was experiencing. She wrote and thought. It was nice to be there during that time, albeit, over text message. Now we were together and she was leaving for a year in another country, another continent.

We went to go eat.

There is a restaurant right on Cannon Beach called Mo's. We were both wet, but I was completely soaked. It was not very comfortable. And it was cold. Inside we were warm though. It was nice in there, not too many people. We had a very enjoyable time. I tried clam chowder for the first time. My food was really good. Plus we had a view of the ocean the entire time. After eating, we went out to the car to wait a few minutes for the sunset. We stood right at the beach and watched it set over the water. Together.

Early the next morning we waited for our ride to the airport. Jackie's long time friend was taking us in her truck. We arrived at the airport shrouded by darkness. It was busy, but we made it quickly through to the security checkpoint. That was as far as I could go. Tearfully, we embraced one another. I stood there and watched her make it through with no problem.

The drive home was punctuated by fog. It rolled over everything and gave the day a sense of longing and loneliness. The apartment was quiet. Jackie's laugh always filled it up. Catface jumped on my lap and fell asleep.

Let the next year begin.
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