Grains Of Sand

Carolyn Ziel
3 min readSep 1, 2021

I cried this morning. I was thinking about Quantum Wave Function and the indeterminacy principal. I know where I am but have no idea where I’m going. Or where I’m going but haven’t the foggiest idea of who I am. For now, just call me Ishmael. I’ve been thinking about a timeline where I live multiple lives. And I’ve been thinking about my father. Today is his birthday.

I wondered in which life we’re both alive. Imagined the talks we have. About movies and life. The conversations he’d have with Bill. About the ocean and boats. About how Bill can fix things. With tools. My dad, in most lives I imagine, cannot.

Maybe there’s a life where we are sitting by a pool. Somewhere tropical. Hawaii. My father loved Hawaii. I love Hawaii. Bill loves Hawaii too.

When I met Bill, I didn’t recognize the grains of sand between him and my dad. Only after we were deep in the nooks and crannies of our marriage did I see just how much they have in common.

“What’s with all the clutter,” Bill says. It’s Sunday. We’ve just come back from Whole Foods. He has knocked a stainless steel coffee cup off the counter. It crash landed on the floor after taking out a glass which bumped the dish soap and both tumbled into the sink with a thud-clunk.

There are too many things on the counter. The coffee grinder. The coffee maker. The canister of coffee beans. The Grey Poupon jar filled with pens. Hand soap. Lotion. Paper towels. A lemon. A Magic Bullet. A Palm Springs pink lipgloss. A roll-on sage CBD stick. Not much room to unpack the groceries.

And then it’s 1978 and I’m 15. My mom and dad are putting the groceries away after a trip to Gelson’s. He’s standing in front of the open freezer shaking his head. It’s summer and the sun is bright in the kitchen. Dad’s in his summer uniform, when he’s not by the pool, white shorts and a blue Izod. He’s barefoot and brown. Even the tops of his feet are tan. A red Flair pen is on the counter next to 12 mini cans of Kern’s Strawberry Nectar juice. He’s trying to find room in the crammed freezer. He likes to freeze the juice, take the tops off, eat the frozen yumminess with a spoon. He called them…



Carolyn Ziel

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