Surprisingly the letter d ran away
I was messing around on the beach the other day, the sun was blowing warm kisses and I had nothing much else to do. The dog took advantage and ran around begging for food and stole other dog’s balls, while I paid no attention and dallied. People have begun to think of summer, I stood and watched a lone stand up paddle boarder underline the place where sea meets sky. I squinted and took a picture with my phone unsure if I had captured the moment. It didn’t really matter I had seen it, so it was captured in a way. I love the way nature and man collide on the beach, the constant struggle by both to win amuses me. People have built houses on the cliffs here, I assume they look out onto the most beautiful view, they have to pay a toll to the sea, corrosion and salt. I sat on a rock and watched builders abseiling with a belt full of tools hanging above signs that said warning falling rocks. I read the sign again lazily and got up quickly remembering that the rocks can ricochet, turning themselves into bullets capable of hitting me as I sat reading the warning.
I kicked my jandals off and for the first time in this new season walked barefoot on the sand. The thousands of tiny bits of things squeezed up between the spaces my toes left and pushed at my instep which is arched and normally holds itself above the ground. The water was freezing but so clear and sparkly that I could not contain the urge to kick and splash like a toddler. The dog and I paddled for a bit until my toes felt numb and he got bored. I looked at my watch and thought of dinner but shook the ingredients out of my mind and decided to get to the rock pools at least, before dinnertime.
Children had built castles that had melted and now looked like pimples, dogs had dug potholes. I watched the sea licking them off her sand face with annoyance. It was hard repetitive work and she sighed with the effort of it all and pulled back so quickly that the floating things were shocked, slow to react, and got left behind on the sand at my feet.
I looked at the flotsam, and saw the letters C and d, I needed no more encouragement. The dog was involved in a stare off with a chip eating boy, who looked like he could hold his own against a pair of begging brown eyes. I worked like a scrabble master and formed a word. Just as I finished the sea took her letters away. I tried again three times, she took what was hers every time just as I finished I laughed so much the dog left the promise of chips and joined me barking madly, leaving his doggy prints all over my canvas.
I formed the word again, grabbed my phone and got the shot. I waited because I now wanted to grab the moment the sea wiped the writing off. I waited and waited, the dog ran off again and I could hear the boy telling him to get lost, I kept watch. My phone’s battery saver kicked in and I had to fumble around with wet sandy fingers entering my code when I could not see the numbers against the glare, I was ready again the sea tormented me and stayed away. Then part of the letter d got up and ran away.
I called the dog to heel, I was driving myself insane with this game and was now hallucinating so it was time to go home. Wait the d was definitely travelling along the sand. I picked it up and looked more closely, a funny little red whiskered face peered back into my large pink one.
” Why are you here” I said “and not in the rock pools?”
The creature looked sadly back, it did not speak human but seemed to be telling me it needed to get home. He, for I had named him Victor, just hung out of his shell so uncharacteristically that I thought maybe he was looking for a new home, perhaps this shell was so small he could no longer fit back inside. I wanted to take a picture but I had jandals, lead phone in the other hand, and it was not possible, instead we walked together to the rock pools.
Children had built castles that had now melted away to look like pimples and dogs had dug potholes. The sea was licking them off her sand face with annoyance
As I walked away I heard the sea laugh and take my letters away, the shot I had been waiting for.
I told Victor all about my trouble with sea messing my word up, he listened and told me that the sea was in a funny mood today and it was her fault that he had been stranded on the beach. He hung out of his shell and we talked all the way to the rocks. I searched for the perfect spot and put Victor the whisker down and laughed hard for the second time that day. He popped back inside his shell perfectly with one big fat claw tucked in like a front door, the size of his chosen shell was perfect, I could see how I had picked him up to be part of my word. I had been conned into carrying him home. I sat and waited for him to come out and say thank you, the dog jumped into a bigger rock pool and frightened the word that lived there.
“OK Victor, nice to meet you I am going home now” as I stood, he came out and considered me with his tiny stalked eyes. “Thank you” he said.