The stippled frost on the south side of the neighbor’s roof means it will be too cold to surf comfortably, not without a hood and booties. This will not sway you. Your fingers will turn ghost-white beneath the not-white sea foam, beneath the too-white clouds stacked from horizon to horizon, beneath the white-hot sun burning where you cannot see it.
When the wild turkey stops in front of your car, his rectrices fanned wide and proud, you will collect his gesture as a sign. It will be days before you remember this sign, but it will matter again. You will carry the moment and shape it behind your eyes until it shines the way that suits you best.
There will never be a way back to your heart. When someone asks me how I know this, the silence with which I answer will break me in some small, nearly imperceptible way. I will hope they do not notice my undoing. I will hope, at least, for the kindness of their pretending not to see.
The ocean will be alive and swirling. A seal will follow close behind as you paddle through the dense bulb kelp destined to be gone by spring, ripped from its mooring by the plain hands of the sea. The seal will rise from the buoyant, salty water, taller than you expect, and then it will vanish in the way that memories often do.
You will stop using the rearview mirror unless absolutely necessary. Seeing the world moving away from you, the image flipped askance, has always felt unnerving to you. You will commit yourself to this ritual.
You will always remember the last time we saw each other, how you left with so few words. You will not recall the things left unsaid, but you will endure the echo of their absence. The casual cruelness of your silence will ring louder than whatever you might have spoken.
You will paddle for some of the bigger set waves. You will pull back at the last moment, offshore wind blinding you with sea spray, the reef draining beneath the almost-inevitable drop. You will regret the decision, but you will not regret having a choice.
You will long for love until it shows up, and then you will sigh, you will exhale, you will tap your white fingers on the steering wheel as you watch it recede in the rearview mirror. (I know what I said earlier, but this is one of the few times it will make sense to use the mirror.)
You will maintain your contempt for birds, especially large flocks of birds, no matter the kind. Their contact with the sky too reckless, hollow feathers too garish. Unless the bird is a wild turkey with iridescent tail feathers. Even then, you will tolerate it only because it offers you a sign.
A fleet of pelicans will glide along the scoop of an ocean swell, bending their arc toward you, the tips of their wings nearly touching the surface. You will slash your arm into the sea, the torrent of water impotent against them. They will carry on unperturbed. It will be the only thing at which you fail today.
Jad Josey resides on the central coast of California. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Glimmer Train, Passages North, CutBank, Pithead Chapel, and elsewhere. Read more at http://www.jadjosey.com or reach out on Twitter @jadjosey.