Waves

The air undulates around her toned shoulders. Incandescent cotton flutters around her form as the summer breeze compliments her movement across the cafe floor. She floats to the double doors opening onto the redwood terrace. Sunset light bounces off the ocean waves as they roll to the sparkling sands. Flame coloured light that has travelled millions of miles, filtered by the atmosphere,  reflected and refracted by the majesty of nature, holds her features in fabulous illumination.

Undoubtedly she woke this morning innocently unconscious to thoughts of pretentiousness and self-consciousness. I should know. I was there. The pencil thin belt, that she finished her outfit with this morning, gives just enough restraint to her light dress allowing the world to appreciate the slimness of her waist and the curves of her movie star figure.  The pastel material moves as one with her; the hemlines bounces delicately above her knees. The Balearic sun has illuminated her once pale legs all summer and her skin now radiates a healthy brown glow. You could easily mistake her for a farm girl brought up in the Tuscan valleys, her skin touched by a lifetime of our star’s rays as she collects olives from the trees and grapes from the vines. In some ways I miss her English pallor. It reminds me of snowy winter days as we embraced each other under scratchy blankets in my studio. Feeding each other soup and sharing hot chocolates as the aging boiler fought a failing battle with the English winter permeating the icy glass windows. Now before my eyes I see a different creature, an evolution from the shackles that once restrained her.

                   

He strokes her flowing chestnut hair. The embers of the bonfire glow, pulsating, vibrant and light up the reflection in the pupils of her eyes. His heart beats to the rhythm of fireworks exploding across the sky. Regular, finite but exciting. The sparks crackle and fall in the air. The occasion, the comfort of the warmth of the blaze and her mittened hands wrapped around him give him solace and happiness. The community gasp and sigh as the bursts of colour tantalize their eyes and momentarily tear their thoughts from the disappointment of their everyday lives. Thoughts of spreadsheets, deadlines and dead-end jobs are banished to sadder, darker places in their psyches.

They walk hand-in-hand , crowds dissipate with each block and each turn. Tonight’s fleeting joy and awe dissolves with each step, turn of the key and routine ablution. They fall asleep together. Their legs bent, stacked together so they can sleep warm and close. The thin duvet provides scant protection to the cool air in the bedroom. The radiator gurgles ineffectively and she pulls him closer and the duvet tight above their heads. She drifts away first as his eyes strain against the murky dark trying to recall the vibrant reflections in her eyes that he saw tonight.

                   

He is rudely awoken from his snooze. A plump, red-faced man with an ill-fitting high street suit stands over his cubicle. The papers in the magnolia file threaten to spill over the formica desk as the reverberations echo violently between page, file and desk. He stares up, groggy, rapidly trying to regain his mental alertness as a barrage of tirade spills from the fat mans mouth. As the volley of abuse and spit shoot from the man’s mouth you can see his shoulders slump. He loosens the noose around his white-collared neck, his hands are raised waving apologetically, fearful  pretending he cares about the disparity in figures in his calculations.

When he joined the charity he believed he was doing a job that would change the world. he would have self-worth coursing through his arteries and his parents would be proud of him for the first time since he won the high-jump in the 1998 Chelmsford Comprehensive school sports day. She had encouraged him to take this job. He had admired her compassion, vision and dedication. Visiting dilapidated urban environments feeding the worlds vagrants, forgotten offspring, drug-addicts and the lost. He doesn’t get the same warmth and reward she does. Pushing figures, schmoozing people for donations, building the courage every time to cold-call the next person who will berate him for wasting their time.

The clock agonisingly stands still. Every passing minute since two o’clock has been witnessed by his forlorn eyes. His longing to break free from this cubicle of oppression rises and increases his agony throughout the day. The only thing stopping him from running out the door, away from this grey soulless building is the impending gas bill, the council tax and his misguided, wrongly attributed pride.

                   

She folds her apron carelessly, wrapping the wine-opener, till fob and her bar blade loosely inside before depositing them beside some highball glasses. The sun is gone and the cafe is transforming slowly. A DJ, dressed to impress, is unloading his equipment from a dusty van. At the tables the clientele is turning from sun-drenched beach-goers to glammed up party-goers but the ambient vibe of sunset still lingers for a short while. Fairy lights illuminate the terrace as she skips along through the maze of tables. Her work is done and she has that glitter in her eye that says she is brimming with excitement about what the moon and stars hold for her this evening. She joins her friends. Casual confidence, cocktail infused banter and ripples of laughter burn around her.

                   

The candles stand proudly on the kitchen table. She scans the internet feverishly as he potters around the kitchen. Occasionally, she glances at him, not turning, but checking his musings at the stove in the reflection of the bottle of Tesco’s finest Malbec that sits at the centre of the table. Working holidays, Ann Summers, Google, Facebook, charity work abroad, Ibiza, the tabs open and close as her deft touch works the keyboard. A shriek of contempt emanates from the kitchen. Dinner is served. He lights the candles as she folds the laptop lid closed. He beams with unsure pride. She dubiously inspects the lasagna and salad. As she crunches through charred pasta sheets and gritty chopped vegetables, she smiles with forced pleasure and sympathetic affection. The Valentines card on the table is thoughtful and she cringes with regret as she tracks back in her mind to when she used the spare twenty minutes at lunch to get her nails done and not go to Clinton’s. He nervously looks across the table through the flicker of the claret red candles at her dark eyes.

                 

Frothy waves lap at their feet. Moonlight hopscotches over the gentle rollers illuminating the purple jellyfish that a previous day’s storm washed upon the beach. She giggles gleefully as they pull and push each other, splashing in the wash of the sea and nimbly avoiding the toxic tentacles that mine the sands. A baby turtle emerges  from the sands and bursts clumsily towards the sea, it’s freedom and the future. They stop and admire natures power around them. Fingers entwined, her delicate toes clenching the wet sand shifting beneath her gentle frame. Moonlight fills her round eyes. She squeezes his hand, giggles and carelessly skips down the beach.

                   

Cold fills his heart and the room around him. the boiler and radiator are silent. The only sound is the scratch of his pen knife on the slate fireplace stone. Too conservative to etch on the most visible tiles. Afterall, his deposit, the landlord and future tenants may be affected. He scrapes impassively away at the fireplaces side. His eyes flit to the only warmth in the room, the blood-red wallpaper that has been unprofessionally pasted to the wall. The edges peel where slate meets paper revealing the cracks in the plaster below. He sits back resting his weary head on the worn sofa reflecting on his work.

“It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them and a day to love them. But, an entire life to forget them. I will always love you.”

His feelings immortalised in stone, forever he will never let go. A warm feeling engulfs him, followed by the creeping cold and he sleeps.

                   

Her white plimsolls dangle knotted loosely from her fingers. The sun rises on the horizon piercing through some fluffy white clouds that are speeding along in the winds of change. She saunters to the water’s edge letting the rush of salty brine tickle her delicate ankles. Her body sways emotionally to the music on her iPod. She stares wistfully at the life-giving sun. She unzips her hoody that has been prohibiting her hair from getting tousled in the gusty, mischievous air. She folds it with usual abandon, places it on the sand and sits. She nestles her feet in the sand, pushing her heels down and pushing her feet away from her, only for the odd wave to breach her playful barricade. Deep in thought she takes something from her purse. She begins to write in the sand.

“It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them and a day to love them. But, an entire life to forget them. I will always love you.”

She contemplate her work, dusts the sand from her hoody, turns her back to the sea and walks away. She takes a few steps before turning and throwing the object to the sea. As the penknife splashes into the breaking waves she continues away. She doesn’t look back, only forward. She wipes the tears from her eyes. He’s waiting for her and she smiles.

                   

As I look down upon the beach the waves of forgiveness wash away her words erasing her pain. The sea consumes the pen knife, the remnants of slate, blood and sand are washed away in the turbulent waters. The kindness, warmth and light she brought me is forever engraved in the studio in England, my pain is eased and I let her go like she has me. I turn turn to the light never to see the dark again.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s