I decided to take a walk by the ocean to clear my mind before going to bed. The sun had long since gone down, and the only points of light were the stars in the pitch-black night sky and their reflections off the soft waves below, save the lights from the town behind me.
I walked out onto a pier that extended a ways into the ocean. The dark scenery of nature engulfed me: towering mountains closing in an inlet, with the water extending forwards as far as the eye could see. The wind softly blew the scent of the salty ocean into my nose. I had become quite accustomed to this scent ever since I moved here many years ago for a job opportunity unlike any other. However, the winds of fortune shifted and now I work an infinitely more stressful job. Everyone was laid off from my previous job, and thus a whole boatload of unemployed workers flooded the market. I am fortunate, to say the least, to be able to pay my bills.
Money is just half the story, though. I was a happier man back then. You could even argue I felt something called "fulfillment." Having a life's calling, and seizing it. Upon further reflection, this is probably what drove me to possibly do my job too well... and that was what caused the rapid deconstruction. But the tragic nature of reality has befallen me, and there's no use to mourn the past too greatly. I have to raise my head high and just take on what the future holds for me, right?
Of course, everything isn't all unicorns and rabbits. A million questions flooded into my mind. "What am I doing here?" "What have I become?" "Am I even worth as much as back in the day?" "Is this job really worth it?" "Does this sea call for me more than what I do for a living?" and "Why was I even born to begin with?" I shuddered at the last one.
Maybe I let my mind wander too much since I began to sway a little. My balance always has a tendency to leave me when I am slightly tired. Especially since there are no guardrails on this particular pier, this can be quite concerning. Thankfully, somebody grabbed me by the shoulder before I tipped over the edge.
I turn around and can make out a female's face, about 18 years old. Her long, black hair is done in a long braid that falls over her shoulder accompanied by two portions of hair that fall straight down from the sides of her face. Her straight-cut bangs rustle silently in the light breeze. "Careful there, mister," she curtly warned.
My mind suddenly found the name associated with this round, feminine face. I blurted, "You're-!"
She cut me off. "Yes, it's been a while, hasn't it? How have you been?"
Seeing her face aroused a multitude of wistful memories in my addled brain. Ones of friendship, collective struggle, triumph, and most of all, the pleasure and fulfillment of my previous life. My face scrunched up, full of conflict and wistful nostalgia.
Reading my face in the dim light, she responded, "Hey now, don't be a downer. Why are you even here to begin with?"
"Just clearing up my mind," I meekly responded.
Barely finding my answer satisfactory, she edged me on. "Aw, c'mon. Is your new job okay?"
At this point, I just lost it. "I can't take this anymore..." before sitting down on the side of the pier, dangling my legs off the edge. The increasingly choppy waves moved under a meter under my foot.
Sitting down next to me, the girl tried to comfort me. "Boss, if you need anything, it's okay to ask for help, you know? It's not like we'll hate you or anything." I felt her gaze on my head, but she shifted her gaze to the mountains ahead that I was gazing at.
"We spent so much time together back then, you know. All the time and effort spent towards helping everyone under your command. We're family now, no?"
We were indeed a family. Gathered around a room, one hundred-some people eating lunch together. Maybe I could return to that one day. Finding a sense of family. It was the first and only time I had felt compassion at such magnitude before. Maybe, she said, I could feel that again.
After a moment of listening to the waves break on the shore, I took off my cap and held it close to my heart. "You know what, you're right."
With that, I stood up and hurried back home, leaving the girl behind. Maybe life doesn't have a meaning, but I just found meaning in mine. The winds have once again blown in my favor.
Bonus points if you can guess the identity of the girl above! This is beyond difficult, so don't be discouraged if you can't get it right. But if you do, there'll be a dedication in the works for you!
It would help if you took context and also literally everything I do on this site into account. Haha, quite a bit, isn't it.