Footprints in the sand

Footprints in the sand

A Story by Ethan Jobalia

Tracks in sand tell more than their history. They tell what could have been.


Part one, in which a set of footprints meander along the beachside:

I am not the first one here since last tide. It seems I am the second. There is one set of footprints to follow, and with nowhere else to go I shall follow them to the end. It seems strange. There is no fault in these footprints. This man or woman or whatever seems to have walked along the beach with no halts, no faults. Where did they go? What did they do? Why does it matter? What is the point? All I feel is spite. Where am I being led? I want, nay need, answers. I find myself bound to these tracks. This man. This story. I cannot pull myself away. Faster. Faster I travel, seeing no end. Finally. At the end. The tracks slow. A knee print? The man simply… took a knee? Perhaps he found a shell, a sand dollar, anything, something. Looking, ever searching. Like me. Not like me. Never like me.

Part two, in which two tracks of footprints walk side by side:

Two tracks lie in the sand. Silky sand. Smooth sand. Who laid these footprints. Did they look back and wonder at the legacy they were leaving? No. I am sure not. Just as I have not yet pondered the third track between them I now lie. Maybe a passing thought, a fleeting glimpse. But who were these people? Perhaps a John and Nancy, your average Harry and Sally. Perhaps a Bob and Tom. Maybe friends, maybe more, maybe less. Does it matter? Where does truth stop being truth? What does it change now that the tracks have been laid who actually laid them. My own stories, as long as they fit, are just as possible and likely. Therefore I can say with certainty that here strode two lovers. Two people who walked side by side and hand in hand. The tracks slow. Someone stops. A knee print. Tying of a shoe? Proposal of a marriage? The latter I have decided. The tide will come in soon anyway, and then it will not matter. It never mattered. Perhaps one day I’ll find these people and ask them. Perhaps one day I’ll… Perhaps…

Part three, in which three tracks of footprints walk intermingling:

Three tracks. One meandering slowly behind. Must be a family. Father, mother, son. These tracks in the sand hold so many stories that I shall never know. My love for these tracks and these people and these stories is unbearable. My wonder and awe at the humanity that lies so humbly before me is unbearable. Perhaps one day someone behind me will wonder the same thing at four tracks of footprints. I wish I was here. I wish I could ask questions, so many questions. Love lay in these tracks. Love beyond time, love beyond space. The tide is coming in soon, very soon now. These tracks may be washed away but the sand is imprinted. The love is stained on the beach. More powerful than any tide, and more sure footed than the wind. Love beyond bounds, beyond reason, beyond all. The tracks slow down. A knee print next to a footprint. Father tying his son’s shoe. A father. What is it like? A loving father. Not loving. Loving is the wrong word. Traditional. Normal. Happy. Facade or no, what is it like? There will always be trouble behind a curtain. I want the curtain. I want it back. I don’t care. I don’t give a f**k what lies behind. I hate not thinking about it. I hate not thinking about it. I hate not thinking about it. I want others to not think about it. How’s your father doing? Good. What do I say? Not good? Not good? No he is good. I am good. We are all good. We are born, we are good, we die. This is all life has to offer. What is contentment? What does it matter? It does not. The secret of life: The thing no one must ever know. Contentedness is all that matters. Complacency to get us through life until we can finally die. Distraction. Brief distraction. That’s all that matters. The knee. The laces. The story. The love. Love. That’s what I have. That is what I know. That is what I must focus on. Love and wonder. Two pure emotions. These are all that can exist. The tide is here. The tracks behind me are washing away. All are gone now, but the wonder still remains.

Part four, in which no tracks of footprints lie on the beach:

A man walks solemn and alone along the beach. He meanders slowly through the night. There are no thoughts going through his head, other than the images of the beautiful sea and questions of what it must look like at night, day, sunrise, sunset. The sun on the horizon, the moon. He wishes for more days, more time, more anything. He has nowhere to go now but onwards. He walks forward at a constant pace, never knowing what his tracks would create. He sees himself as all alone tonight. No one bound to him, following him, wanting him, needing him. He lives in his own head. Left to his own devices he keeps walking onwards and onwards. Further and further. The beach meanders this way and that but nothing new. All coastline. He slows his pace, wondering what to do next. For no reason in particular, he feels the urge to get closer to the ground. He bends down, and placing one foot in front of the other he takes a knee.

© 2020 Ethan Jobalia

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Added on October 15, 2020
Last Updated on October 15, 2020
Tags: Moral, Philosophical, Sand, Beach, Short Story, Footprints


Ethan Jobalia
Ethan Jobalia


A new writer just looking to improve my work more..

Chapter 1 Chapter 1

A Chapter by Ethan Jobalia