He walked along the beach. The sand enveloped his feet, and when he paused, the wave pulled the sand out from under his heels. He loved the ebb and tide of the ocean, the rhythmic flow of the water. Soothing. Always new. Always the same but always different.

He wished the ocean would flow over his messed up life, smoothing out the mistakes of the past. He wished that he could have another chance to start over, to make things right. He wished he could wipe away people’s memories, their anger, and their mistrust—with the restoring flow of an ocean wave. Why couldn’t each day start new with the tide?

If he did change, if he did start over, could he ever be free? He looked back. The water flowed effortlessly over his footsteps, smoothing out the pits, over and over again. Until, just minutes later, his footsteps were erased. He also found himself in a hole. Just like in life—stay still too long, you go stagnant. He had to move forward. He took a step toward the ocean. The water lapped at his feet, cleansing him. He looked up at the sky, exhaled, and took another step. The water washed away the past. Gone. All gone.

*This fiction sketch was written for my master’s class in fiction. It was inspired by Kirk Franklin’s song, “Imagine Me.”