The sea

This weird island still feels like home. All my work is done. I’m sitting at St Ouen, looking out past the martello tower to Corbière. I’ll be back here before long no doubt. Meanwhile I’ve stated my case and everything seems to be in order. I think it’s going to work out well. I’m barefoot in the sunshine wondering how on earth I haven’t let my feet see the sun yet throughout this heatwave. I’ve got a hilarious briefcase, my grandfather’s white tie and naval dress uniform, a duvet cover and a Mickey Mouse watch, all in the boot of my hire car. I’m wearing a pair of sunglasses that don’t have scratches on the lenses and aren’t made out of pipe cleaners – thank you uncle Peter. Hugo Boss, no less. Very swish.

I’m letting the little lump in my stomach – the one that drives me the whole time – I’m letting it just unwind for a little bit. I don’t need to go anywhere apart from the airport tonight. I can sit on this beach until then if I want to goddammit. I fly in 4 hours. I can see if I can get my feet to match my hands. Get a bit of skin cancer. Fuck it. After all the healthy living I’m allowed it. I might get hit by a train tomorrow.

After channelling all my energy to a fine point, and getting all your positive energy sent to me (thank you) I had a good meeting. Then I went to the market and threw a coin in the fountain. Then, preoccupied, I walked towards a florist I like in order to get lavender for my godmother’s grave and hydrangeas for my mother’s. I was mumbling as I walked. I needed to find a friend, maybe two, Jersey residents, who would be willing to help out with this jigsaw I’ve been trying to sort out. “Who do I know that would do that?” I said to myself, out loud, literally at the same time as someone called my name. An old school-friend. He lives here. His kids are at the same school as the lawyer’s kids. Normally in these stories people say “I don’t believe in energy and all that nonsense,” but I do. I totally do. And right there, having a coffee in St Helier, was proof. Nam myo ho renge kyo, or however you want to frame it. If you build it they will come.

I’ve moved. I can’t sit still for long. I went to Corbière lighthouse because the tide was out and it’s beautiful. My uncle, I’m told, used to say it looked like Yogi Bear sunbathing with a hard-on.

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You can walk to it if the tide is out, but people do get stranded and drowned if they aren’t careful. There’s a memorial to a lighthouse keeper who drowned saving someone. Growing up in this island you learn to respect the sea. The sea isn’t fucking around, guys. People get swept out or cut off all the time. My great grandfather was taken off a fishing trawler in Folkestone by the waves – long before I was born. I just remember my grandmother’s eyes as she recited it over the dinner table after I’d failed to still a chiming glass. (Her powerful superstition. Never let it ring. A sailor drowns.) “It was his boots. His new boots. He’d saved up for months to buy them, and first time out, all happy in his expensive boots, a wave took him and those new boots – they dragged him down. Down all the way to the bottom of the sea.”

But the sea does feel good to me. There is a strong pull of “home” in those tides. I fly away in just under 2 hours now, and I’m sitting looking at the waves coming in. I just went in for a quick shiver. Now I’m lost in memory.

All these years. All these good people dragged down by their new boots along with their hopes and plans and dreams. I wondered when the tears would come but now they have and now I have time for them. Time. You bastard, time, this is your fault to begin with. I think I’ll sit with this a while. Then off.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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