I could have had something simple inscribed on placate placed on the bench I’d made for my parents. The normal thing of their names, birth and death dates and perhaps stating this was their favourite spot.
I knew they had walked the cliffs often. They had meet on the beach below as teenagers so this area did hold special memories for them. Why my dad had chosen to bring my mum here to end everything, I could only guess.
Perhaps, it had been the easiest place for him to tell the old people’s home to take them on a day trip. It had been their special day after all. The career had said, my dad had asked her to go and get them ice creams whilst he and mum rested on a grassy spot.
Mum had been in a wheelchair, gone to dementia and dad with numerous other illness had recently been told he had that disease too.
I guess he couldn’t bear it anymore and that’s why he’d done it.
The placate reads;
In memory of Harry and Betty who committed suicide here on the 2 .8. 2019, their 55th wedding anniversary.
Their love began and ended on the beach below. They were always together.
I woke up as sunlight kissed my bare skin. I yawed and rolled over in a strange bed. My eyes focused on the view before me. The floor to ceiling glass windows and doors, led to a balcony and beyond there, the sun sparkled on the crystal waves of the sea.
I threw the white satin sheet back and walked to the door, I opened it, slide if back and stepped out into the warmth. The sea lapped below me, the sun played across the golden beach and I remembered then where I was.
There was nothing out here but nature. I got up on the wooden fence of the pier and let the wind blow though my hair. Sea salt tingled my lips and waves lapped in my ears. It was a calm, cool night. The sky was dotted with stars and the moon was full.
My torch lay abandoned on a near by bench. Normally the pier was lit up to tempted people here to go on the rides, play the fun fair themed games and spend money. The lights hadn’t come on this year, there was no point because people had been told to stay at home.
I could no longer bare it and had escaped into the night. I was tried of the arguments with two teenagers, tried of trying to do maths with my other children and tried of trying to keep my toddler entertained for long enough for me to do some housework. I didn’t regret having seven children, I just had never imagined we’d been all trapped at home for weeks on end.
I shut my eyes, breathed in deeply and listened not just my ears but my heart. The sea whispered, singing the song it had done since the beginning of time. The waves rasped across the sand and shells on the beach behind me. A seagull called close by disturbed by my presence.
For a few seconds I thought about letting go. I could fall down with the whistling wind and part the wave below. The sea would consume me gladly and wrap me in a watery embrace for all eternity.
I felt the forward lurch in my body and placed my hands on the top rail to catch myself. I looked into the dark water below and decided not today. I got down, grabbed my torch and walked back the way I had come.
I had responsibilities and so much love still to give but the sea would always be waiting for me.
Someone had painted the pill box on the beach again. I signed and let my dog, Teddy, sniff one of the corners. At least the “art work” didn’t look that bad this time but still, some respected might have been nice.
Once a solider would have sat inside, his only light coming through the gun slit and he would have had to watch the shore for signs of the enemy. A boring job, maybe but a crucial one to slow the enemy down when they landed.
I tugged Teddy’s lead and told him, ‘we’ll have to go back to get the whitewash again.’
He did his art on the beach. Moving the sand into shapes from his imagination and memories. He liked fantasy and animal sculptures the best but sometimes he expanded out into food or historic places.
Today, he created two turtles swimming out of a small sand pile. He took a photo, a reminder not to duplicate the piece. Then he left his art behind for people to admire before the sea came to claim the sand back again.
Her bones lay on the beach, rusting under sun and sea. Long had she sailed across the waters until that fateful night had brought her to this grave. Wedged keel in sand, hull full of water, tilting to port side, going nowhere.
She had become scrap and a new home for seagulls. Sinking further into the sand, waves rocked her still and she slept, dreaming of days out in the ocean with a crew scampering upon her decks.
Years later, she awoke to a new job; a sight-seers’ object. To be admired and wondered over. Hands touched what only the sea had done and life came back into the old bones once more.
We took our normal boxing day family walk on the beach and thankfully it wasn’t raining. The sky was cloud covered, the wind blustery and spraying sea water at us. We were huddled in coats and boots, not looking like we were enjoying things expect for Banshee the dog.
‘Grandfather! Look at this!’ Tod’s voice called above the crashing waves.
He came over with a large triangle shape of shinny rock.
‘It’s a Neolithic arrow head! A great find!’ my dad said.
‘And there’s more over there!’
We went over and discovered a treasure hoard washed up on the beach.