Tuesday 27 February 2018

A World of My Own

By Valerie Griffin


sparkling elder flower cordial


I always sit on the same rock. A smooth, humped boulder jutting out of the sand, outcast by the craggier rocks further along. It’s where I come when my head fizzes, when I understand the words but not the sentences, when my thoughts become blurred. I sit here often.

The day is warming up. Clouds spread thinly above me and into the distance, fine like angel hair. The smell of seaweed drifts across from the rock pools, triggering a briny taste in my mouth. The bay is shaped like a horseshoe and the water is calm. Tiny wavelets roll up the beach in lazy ripples, flattening out as they stretch across the dampening sand. I like to watch, see if I can catch the moment between the stopping and the starting to roll back.

In the winter, when the sea is rough, white horses ride the angry waves, racing towards the shore, leaping up before pounding onto the beach, showering the air with a salty spray that mists everything it touches. But as I said, today it’s calm.

The soft sand squidges between my toes as I walk down the beach towards the sea. It’s gritty with broken shell fragments, different shapes and different colours. I like walking on the sand, feeling the pull of my muscles. It’s good exercise for my legs. With each step my feet sink briefly into the sand, dispersing the upper warmth and exposing the cooler layers beneath. Nearer the sea, the outgoing tide has soaked the sand, leaving the surface colder, harder, corrugated. I try to avoid the tiny holes left by the tiny, unknown creatures…they might pop out.

I reach the edge of the water and stand, looking out across the bay. The surface twinkles under the mid-morning sun and is dotted with boats, leaving churned-up white trails behind them. The sand tickles the soles of my feet as it falls away with the outgoing wavelets, only to be pushed back again by the next incoming. The clear water laps over my toes and I gasp at the coldness, the downy blond hairs on my body standing to attention, rigid with shock. It travels along my insteps and rolls across the top of my feet, stopping just short of my skinny ankles protruding beneath the hem of my rolled up jeans. The silky water then recedes, sliding away and leaving my feet covered in a film of grains. I stay at the water’s edge. With each sensory ebb and flow, on and off my feet, I can feel the fizziness in my head easing, my thoughts unscrambling.

About the author:

Valerie lives in Weymouth and belongs to two writing groups. She has had short stories and flash fictions published online and in anthologies. She is also a compulsive letter writer and is currently working on her first novel. You can find Valerie on Facebook and on Twitter @griffin399.

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