The beach was clear of people, the dank weather was keeping people away, but she hunkered down between the dunes staring out at the sea beyond, running her hands across the cold sand, appreciating the moment of isolation. She had played and lounged on this beach in and out of season all the years of her life, it was her beach, their beach. She drew her breath in sharply, some barely conscious thought paining her although her eyes still hadn’t lost their focus on the distant, rolling waves. The clouds seemed to merge with the water, grey and leaden as her heart.
She dropped back onto her bottom, never caring for the dampness and crossed her legs, brushing back the slightly crunchy curls that form in that specific combination of dank weather and sea spray and drawing the hood of her jacket over her head. Her thoughts were a blurry fog of emotions, tears slowing forming in the corners of her eyes, smarting. She stared out.
Slowly she picked up a handful of sand from beside her, letting it drift from her fingers, catching slightly with the wind and spraying out. She smiled slightly, calling to mind a distant past when she had the freedom of childhood and had tossed handfuls of sand against the backdrop of a fantastical blue sky. She picked up another, letting it drift again slowly.
Apparently all she had to do was let go, such a simple aphoristic sound bite of modern life that, she felt, was tossed about a little too freely, as if there was a button in front of her and she could reach out and press it and everything would be ‘let go’. Instead, she reached out for another handful of sand, something tangible, something manageable.
Tense and lost in her flurry of thoughts, she crushed her hand over the sand; it compacted into a loose, damp ball. She sighed again, letting go of the sand, this time it landed with soft thumps. Her eyes drew to the soft sound, looking at the scattered piles.
She picked up another handful, letting it drift away before picking up another, holding it tightly this time.
Maybe it was her after all; maybe she wasn’t ready to let go, maybe she was holding on too tightly. And maybe it was just as simple as opening her hand and letting it fall, however it landed.
This prompt response came to me in the middle of a night this week before speedily disappearing from my grey cells, it’s the story of my life at the moment. This version feels very much second best but it does come in bang on the 400!