It’s the 1st of April in the year 1946…
Mike’s gaze shifts to the clock that stands in the middle of the park. It stares back at him, continuing to tick and tock and let the world know that it is, in fact, seven in the morning.
It’s too early to be up.
Not late enough to have remembered to bring a wallet, apparently.
The air is sticky. Cheryl just paid for Mike’s breakfast and they congregate outside. He loves her to pieces, but hates the way she clacks her fake teeth. The sound is reminiscent of snapping gum. However, there is no grace period between each open and close of her mouth. With gum there’s at least a five second prep time before you can pop it. One could argue that the snapping of gum is more irritating than the clacking of teeth. Mike would argue the latter.
Cheryl lights a cigarette and blows a cloud of smoke towards the clock a hundred yards away. The ocean lies beyond that clock. Before the ocean stands a shack that serves as a bathroom for the public. A sea of grass precedes the sand that the shack will forever rest on.
The sky is gloomy, and it reflects a dark gray against the water. The salt and algae churn and moisten the sand of the beach. The sky is always gloomy. This is nothing new.
A dog begins to bark from the beach. Mike observes the beast sprinting from the sand with its leash and owner trailing behind it. Soon it’s behind the diner Mike and Cheryl just came out of.
Cheryl regards the sound for a moment. She let’s out a long exhale full of smoke and bad breath. She hates dogs. She’s allergic to dogs so she hasn’t given herself the chance to experience how amazing they are.
The dog’s barking forces the birds out of the trees as it rounds the corner. It’s a German Shepherd. Mike wonders what its name is. Its barks become cries. He recognizes it as almost pleading. Mike’s gaze shifts to the German Shepherd’s origin on the sand; past the sand, towards the ocean.
The ocean meets the sky on the horizon. However, the darker base of the gray water looms higher and higher. It reaches for the sky, rising from its own depths. The apex is far but approaching quickly. The water in the bay simply recedes towards the expanding mass, lacking in its natural ebb and flow.
In the middle of the night, 13,000 feet beneath the ocean surface, a 7.4-magnitude tremor was recorded in the North Pacific.
It’s the first of April in the year 1946…
Leila buries her toes in the sand. The soft ocean breeze inhales and exhales with the waves.
She allows her nails, painted red, chipped, dull, to scratch at the surface beneath her. Her gaunt fingers and hands hold the loose rocks, and diamonds, and glass to no avail. They do not want to be kept.
This is her thought.
Before this moment Leila was in her home. Her home is governed by her parents. A mom and a dad. Jeremy and Amanda if they must have names. Amanda has suffered mental abuse from her own parents. This manifests as anxiety in her current life. However, she makes a large effort not to treat her daughter the way she was treated. Jeremy is secretly a homosexual that fantasizes about other men every hour of the day. However, his religious values take precedent. The influence of his parents takes precedent.
Before this moment Leila fought with her parents. She got a nose piercing. She didn’t ask them. Her father doesn’t like the look and finds it to be destructive. Her mother threatened to no longer pay for her tuition. Leila shouted obscenities such as “fuck you,” and other things that weren’t obscenities like “I can do whatever I want with my body.”
Before that moment she arrived home after a night at her friend, Ku’u’s house.
Leila was upset after the fight and went for a walk.
Now she’s on the beach overlooking the water. She inhales for four seconds. She holds her breath for six seconds after. She exhales for a span of eight seconds. This helps calm her down.
She glances back at the clock in the park and it tells her that the time is six fifty-five in the morning.
The quake triggered devastating tidal waves throughout the Pacific, particularly in Hawaii.
It’s the first of April in the year 1946…
Randy takes a look at his watch as he steps out of the house. The long and short hands indicate “6:39” behind the glass.
Randy’s morning routine begins on a walk with his dog, Riley.
Riley’s favorite place is the beach. He plays in the waves that he once feared. The warm water helps him feel like he’s flying.
This is what Randy believes, at least. Riley seems to enjoy himself at the beach more than anywhere else. The beach is similarly Randy’s favorite place to be and it’s easy to project this feeling onto his dog.
The beach is roughly two miles from Randy’s home. He plays fetch with Riley on the way there, excitedly yelling, “Who’s a good boy?” when Riley gives the ball back and proceeding to throwing it once more.
By the time they reach the beach Randy looks at his watch and reads “6:58.” The sky is gray. The ocean fails to imitate the color precisely and appears a dark, abysmal gray.
Riley neglects to go in the water. He fidgets and paws at the sand. After a moment or two of this the dog looks to the ocean and begins barking.
He barks at the water as a challenge, and soon he’s pleading to his owner.
As dogs do, he runs away.
Randy, exasperated, regards the young woman sitting on the sand for half of a moment and sprints after his dog. He passes the clock that he’s known since childhood. He passes the diner that he ate at on prom night, and on the nights of several other high school events.
On this day in 1946, an undersea earthquake off the Alaskan coast triggers a massive tsunami that kills 159 people in Hawaii.
Ku’u is my mother. On that day in 1946 my mother lost her closest friend.
My older sister’s name is Leila.
My grandfather’s name is Mike. To this day he hasn’t stepped foot on the beach. Not during my paddling races. Not to bask in the sun like he used to. Cheryl loved to paddle.
He took ownership of the dog after he found it crying and barking behind the diner. Nobody came by to claim it.