Somewhere On The Beach

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The beach was empty which was strange for a warm, sunny day. Normally tourists flocked here to see the famous natural rock sculptures. Clearly everyone had better things to do today and I wished I had too.

Trekking down to the beach and towards the rock formation known as the Rhino, I let my troubles consume me. The sand was damp under my feet and my footprints were deep, but I was wearing strong water proof boots, so my feet stayed dry. I heard the sea in the distance, it was far out in front of me and the waves were rolling gently against the sand. The air smelt of spring grasses and salt. Seagulls squawked and circled in the sky, the only other sound to be heard.

I had no reason for being here. The urge to visit the Rhino had come from boredom. If I had a dog that would be my excuse. Maybe I needed to get one? Not a big bounding beast, just a small friendly creature, who wouldn’t give me too much fuss. I had never been animal person though.

The grey and white layered rock rose before me. The top point must have been thirty feet high and there was a thick covering of moss, seaweed and other plants. From the distance, it did look like a rhino eating a chunk of grass, but as you got right up it just looked like a interesting shaped rock; worn over the years by the sea and nature.

I lazily explored the rock pools that gathered in the base of the Rhino. There were a few small crabs, starfish and other things that were surviving in the pools till the sea came back in. Nothing greatly fascinating.

After, I found a dry place to sit on the rocks, looking out at the far away sea and straight of damp sandy beach. Sometimes, there’d be boats or surfers or swimmers to watch, but there was nothing today.

The oddness of that made my thoughts turn away from my troubles and to wondering what was going on. Maybe, the fact it was Monday morning didn’t help. No there was something else going on.

I got up and headed back to the wave breakers and the white fence that marked the start of the beach. Sand clung to my boots and the bottoms of my water proof trousers were wet. It felt like a long walk back. I wished I’d brought my ipod or my phone with me. I had left both hidden in my car though, wanting to be totally alone.

I made it back to the wall and the car park. Something fluttering in the breeze caught my eyes and I went over to it. Flowers, ribbons, cards and a teddy bear collected in a neat little pile. Someone had recently died. I looked at a few of the cards. They were in memory of a young man, but I couldn’t tell anything else from that.

Leaving my car, I went over to the row of shops across the road. It wasn’t holiday time and some of the little shops were closed. A cafe was open and as I walked in I went to a table with a newspaper on it. I sat down and picked it up. On the front page was a report about a young man who had fallen off a boat yesterday and drowned.

That’s why the beach had been empty.

Petrichor #atozchallenge

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Petrichor; the pleasant smell of the earth after rain. 

Everything smells better after it’s rained. There’s a cleanness in air which my ma said was God washing and cleansing everyone. I use to believe that without a doubt. Now though, I’m not sure. There’s so much I believed in as a child which has faded now I’m adult.

It’s strange how different things are after the rain. You notice the pools and reflections of things more. The sounds of splashing wheels and feet. The dripping of drops off things. I randomly remember a boy once telling me that the rain was actually a leak from Heaven’s showers.

I wondered for ages how that was possible and pictured angels having showers all together. Or God having a bath and all the water overflowing. Maybe that was the real reason behind a flood?

When you’re a child it’s easier to believe in these things. As an adult you are more logic and less imaginative. You know how rain is made and why it falls. The novelty of it has worn off too, like snow. I use to love snow! Now, it’s just a pain.

Even though, I know the truth behind things now, it doesn’t take the pleasure away from them. During the rainfall and afterwards, I open my window to let all the smells and sounds in. I sit on the ledge and take deep breaths till I feel calmer. I try to think of nothing at all, but sometimes like today, my mind wonders.

I look up at the sky, where the dark clouds roam and a few rain drops still linger. Are God and the angels up there right now having a bath and cleansing the poor below?

Jouska #atozchallenge

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Jouska; a hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head.

She was there again in her front garden, sunbathing and relaxing. I’d missed seeing her during winter. Now though, she’d be out there every sunny day and I could watch from the shadow corner of my living room. I know what people would think of me if they knew I was watching her; a spy, a peeping tom, a stalker, a rapist.

I’m not any of them. I’m just a lonely artist who sees the beauty of all female forms. Sometimes I’ll sit here and sketch her, other times I’ll draw her from memory. Most of the time I just like to watch and hold a conversation with her in my head.

‘Hello,’ I would say, ‘nice weather today.’

‘Yes,’ she would reply, maybe lowering her sunglasses.

‘I’m sorry to interrupt you. But I live across the way there and I’ve been admiring you for so long.’ 

She might sigh and try to break the news she has a boyfriend or a husband to me. Not that I’ve noticed one about the place. Or perhaps, she might look closely at me and try to tell me I’m not her type. 

In some of these conversations, she does declare her interested in me, but those are very rare and only when I’m feeling at my most lowest. Most of the time she’ll state a boyfriend.

My reply is always, ‘that’s fine. I’m an artist and I would like to paint you.’ 

‘Well, I don’t know,’ she’d respond and start to blush.

‘Please? You can have the painting. It’s the only thing I wish for.’ 

‘I’d need to think about it,’ she would say whilst getting up.

‘No. Don’t think about it. You wouldn’t have to do anything. Just lay there as you have been doing and I shall get to work at once. Here, I have my paper and pencils all ready. Please, this would mean so much to me.’ 

She’ll lower herself back down, ‘okay….’

‘It’ll be fine,’ I’ll say.

Then I begin to sketch her. Outlining all her loveliness whilst she sunbaths. 

After, I will transfer the sketches to canvas and paint her. It’ll be my master piece. The one painting everyone remembers me by.

If only that conversation could become real…

When You Are Alone At Home

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I hated being all by myself at home. It was too quiet and there never seemed to be anything to do. Most people would like that, I guess. They’d see it as a chance to do those odd jobs or hobbies or watch TV which they couldn’t do when parents and kids were around. Yes, I could do all that, but I didn’t feel in the mood for any of it.

Maybe it was the lack of motivation? The pressure that I must do something! I had the space, the time, the chances, so yes, I must do some kind of activity which I couldn’t do other wise.

Nothing was coming to my mind though. I listened to the ticking of the kitchen clock, the dripping of the rain outside and the cat purring around my legs. I put the TV on, but only for background noise and just to hear voices so I wouldn’t be lonely.

I wondered if this was how it was when you got old and housebound. Would I just watch TV all day and doze? Would I reflect on my past and wonder what the rest of my future would be like?

I hope I’d lived a good past.

The cat jumped up and snuggled into my lap. We’re not friends, but with my parents gone for a few days, she was attention seeking. I petted her and listened to her purring more loudly.

I’ve have to get a cat when I was old and stuck inside. It would have to be a nice cat though. One who’d sit in my lap all the time and not be so wild. An indoor cat. Maybe, one of those with a really long coat and bright blue eyes. I hope I’ll be able to brush it though….

I channel flicked, but didn’t find anything worth watching. A nagging voice in my head told me to do something. ANYTHING!

Picking the cat up, I placed her on the floor. Disgruntled, she looked at me then trotted off. I went into the kitchen, though I was hungry and began looking around. Finally, I decided to do some baking.

I wasn’t that good to be honest, but at least it would kill time until the evening. Then there’d be soaps on and quiz shows and murder mystery dramas. I could get snacks and chill out, maybe the cat would come to me again?

I pulled one of my favourite cooking books off the shelf and flipped through it. What could I make? Something simple, easy and tasty. Cake? Cupcakes? Yes, that would do…chocolate cupcakes!

I set to work and found my mind better now it had something to focus on.

Dear Diary #31

composition, cute, design

Dear Diary,

Work has been so stressful these last few weeks. I’m so in need of a holiday but no luck! My hours have changed, so they are longer now and due to there still be staff shortages, no one can really have time off. Of course, if I did ask for a few days or a week off I would get it, though my supervisor might not like it!

I’m meant to be training like four volunteers to do my job which would be really useful, but none of them turned up this week. Hopefully, they might next week. I don’t mind training as it means less work for me but it just takes time away from other things.

Everyone thinks being on reception is a cushy job but it’s not! You get rushed off your feet answering the phone and greeting visitors. I don’t mind answering and sending emails though because at least you have longer to deal with them. I’ve always been a happy friendly person, but work expects you to be like that all the time!

My face feels numb from smiling and I’m so weary of being cheerful even when I totally don’t feel like it.

I shouldn’t complain. I like my job and the money is great, but sometimes it just gets too much. I think everyone feels like that sometimes. We get grind down like wood in a sanding machine. Everyday we lose more of ourselves and we can never get it back.

I’ve been reading too many morbid books!

I need to get some more sleep too. That would really help. Maybe trying to get sometime off work wouldn’t be that bad an idea.

 

Mind Lost

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The bell on the bus rang and with a few glances in his mirrors, the bus driver pulled up smoothly at the next stop.

I looked down the aisle and saw an elderly gentleman wearing a large brown hat and in a long, light brown coat getting to his feet with the aid of a wooden walking stick. He tottered to the hissing opening doors and looked out.

‘Wrong stop,’ he announced and hobbled back to his seat.

The bus driver with a loud sigh, closed the doors, indicted and pulled off.

The old man sit down again and looked out of the window, watching the rows of houses and small patches of green grass go by.

I returned to my open book, cursing my broken headphones as I felt the first pings of my anxiety starting up. Public transport always triggered it, even if I had taken the same journey hundreds of times. There was no stopping that strange wiggly worms sensation in my stomach and the loss of concentration on my book.

The bell rang again. The bus driver slowed and pulled over, easing the bus to a stop and opening the doors.

The same old man got up and walked over. He looked out then said loudly, ‘this isn’t my stop! This isn’t where I’m going!’

‘It’s all right. Just sit down again then,’ the driver said calmly.

Over the top of my book, I watched the elderly gentleman shuffling back to his seat again. He sat down heavily and started muttering to himself.

The engine rumbled, the indicted clicked and we were off again.

Sneakily checking out the other passengers, I saw that none of them were bothered by the elderly man’s mistakes. They all seemed to be in worlds of their own. There was a business man typing away on a small laptop, another man was reading the free newspaper and a third older man was on his phone. Of the four woman, not counting myself, one was reading a library book which I couldn’t see the cover of, two were sat at the back, heads together talking softly and the fourth woman was dozing off with a sleeping baby in her arms.

I turned my eyes back to my book and tried to get into the romantic story of an angel falling in love with a human he was banished from being with. Your typical young adult supernatural mush but I loved it. However, my mind couldn’t focus and I began to picture what would happen if the bus was suddenly to crash.

It was a reoccurring image brought on by the anxiety. I was caught up in it for a few moments, wondering what everyone would do if we became trip in the turned over bus. There’d be smoke, screaming, blood. People would die – the driver, maybe the old man and baby. Maybe even me…

I shook the thoughts away and placed down my book. My fingers still inside the closing pages. Oh, how I wished for my music! The loud beating and fast lyrics of heavy metal noise that I could fade into and forget about everything.

The bell ring and this time the man with the laptop got up. He hardly waited for the bus to stop and the doors to open, before he leaped to the pavement and hurried away.

The elderly man seemed not to have noticed the bus stopping. He was looking out of the window. He was still muttering, but I could not make out what he was saying.

The bus driver lingered for a few minutes, perhaps waiting for the old man to get off or maybe for a big enough gap in the traffic.

I looked through the open doors, feeling the cold winter breeze on my face and trying to relax. We were next to the old Jewish cemetery. The curling gates at the top of the driveway were locked but the smaller side one was half open. I could just make out the tops of the headstones. New apartments flanked both sides of the cemetery, looking out of place and making me recall an argument about the developers wanting to move the headstones and bodies to another location.

The bus doors hissed shut and with the engine sounding grumpy, the driver cut through the traffic and drove us on.

I saw the old man reach for the bell button and touch it. He got up and went to the doors as the bus pulled up only a little bit down the road. The doors opened and I really hoped, though it was so mean of me, that he was getting off this time.

‘Is this Courtly Way? No, it’s not,’ the old man began rambling, ‘I don’t know those trees there. Driver? Where are we going? You’ve taken the wrong route again! I want to go home!’

‘It’s okay,’ the driver said calmly, ‘I’ll take you home. Just go and sit down.’

The old man huffed and began hobbling back to his seat.

The bus moved off again. A car horn blaring from beside us as a car sped passed and jumped the changing traffic lights.

How could the bus driver be so calm? I wondered, surely he’s getting annoyed with all of this now?

‘Hello, Annie!’ the old man cried.

I looked and saw he was staring at me.

‘Why didn’t you tell me you were getting this bus?’ he asked.

‘I’m not Annie,’ I replied, ‘I don’t think we know each other.’

‘Of course, you’re Annie! I’d know you anywhere!’

‘No. You’ve made a mistake. My name is Eleanor.’

‘What are you taking about? We’ve been married fifty odd years, Annie!’ the old man shouted.

I shook my head, sinking back into the hard seat as my anxiety rose. My book began to tremble in my hands and my breaths started catching in my throat. Those stomach worms wiggled more, causing a dull pain to start up. Terrible thoughts came to me. The bus crashing, people dying, blood, fire, the scent of smoke, the smell of death, the whiff of leaking fumes, my book laying upwards with it’s open pages crushed against the roof as the bus land upside down.

‘Annie! Annie! What’s wrong!’ the old man was shouting, ‘Driver stop! My wife has been taken ill!’

For the first time, the bus driver slammed his brakes on at a stop. Passengers were thrown about and my head knocked into the wall of the driver’s cabin. I felt fuzzy and my ears were ringing. I shut my eyes and counted backwards as around me complaining voices rose and the baby started crying.

‘Are you alright, love? Do you want to get off?’ a new voice was asking me.

I opened my eyes and saw the bus driver looking at me.

‘He thinks I’m his wife,’ I muttered.

‘What?’ the driver asked, glancing at the old man who was hanging onto the newspaper tray.

‘He says I’m his wife,’ I repeated louder.

‘Oh. He says that to all the young pretty girls. He’s harmless,’ the bus driver added.

‘My wife?’ the old man suddenly said, ‘where is my wife?’

‘Come on now, Bert,’ the bus driver said politely, ‘sit here and be quiet now. We’re almost home.’

‘Home? Ah yes, that’s where we are going. My wife should be there. She’ll have tea on the table and wondering what’s taking so long. Get on with it, driver,’ the old man snapped and rudely waved the driver away.

The urge to question what was going on here grew but as the driver passed me I couldn’t say anything.

The bus started again and a few stops later, we slowed down and pulled up. The doors opened and the driver got out of his cabin. He walked past me and to the old man.

‘Bert, you’re home now, time to get off,’ the driver said softly.

‘Ah yes. Thank you,’ Bert replied.

The driver helped him up then off the bus. I looked out the window and saw the sign for an old people’s home in the front garden of a large building. At the bus stop, a woman dressed in dark blue trousers and a uniform looking top greeted the bus driver and Bert. I watched her link arms with Bert and take him towards the house. They were talking but I couldn’t hear the words.

The driver got back on and headed for his seat.

‘Is he okay?’ I asked.

The driver looked at me and nodded, ‘he has dementia. Some days he’s okay, other days he believes we’re in a past year and the worse days are when he forgets who he is. It’s a horrible thing and I should know! My dad had it and I had to watch him slowly forget me, everyone else and himself.’

I just nodded, not sure what to say to that.

‘Are you all right? He really didn’t mean you any harm,’ the bus driver added.

‘I’m fine…I suffer from anxiety attacks. It had nothing to do with him,’ I explained.

‘I see. You okay, now though?’ he said

I nodded, thanked him and he climbed into the driver’s cabin.

The bus started again, the seat vibrating underneath me and the voices of the disgruntled passengers muttering. My mind was far away though, reflecting on the bus driver’s words.

 

Latte

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Sato felt warmed inside and out despite the rain hammering against the window. Sitting back in the over sized royal purple colored armchair, she carried on watching the wild wintry weather. Around her, the coffee shop was humming with soft voices, machines, people eating and drinking. The air was heavy with the smell of coffee beans, tea and cakes.

Wrapping her hands around the large red mug, Sato let her thoughts drift. She tried not to think too much about anything though; not her job, part-time studies, recent conversations with grandma, the breakup with her boyfriend. She thought about returning to Japan for Christmas. At least that would stop grandma complaining, but she still wouldn’t have anyone special to share Christmas Eve with.

Sighing, Sato looked into her mug at the light brown frothy top. The leaf pattern that had been drawn on top was almost gone now.

Just like autumn almost is, she thought.

Rising her head, she glanced around the coffee shop, which seemed as the weather raged outside to be too empty. There was only a few other armchairs and sofas occupied by single people or by couples. They all seemed quiet and reflective, just like her. Behind the counter, the two baristas were doing a quick clean up before someone else came in. Somehow, they were keeping their tasks quiet as if they didn’t want to disturb the peace that had settled in the air.

Sato turned back to the rain and condensation covered window. People were hurrying by tucked into coats and umbrellas. The wind was shaking the bus signpost and upturning everything it could. A car splashed through a puddle, sending spray everywhere and causing a man with a large briefcase to dodge out of the way.

In a better mood, she would have laughed at that. Instead, Sato felt slightly sorry for the man and sympathized with a near miss to her the other day. As she watched, he crossed the road and opened the door to the coffee shop. A blast of cold air and rain followed him. He went to the counter and began ordering.

A shiver ran through Sato then was gone. She un-crumbled her face and tried to go back to her thoughts again, but then she couldn’t remember what she had been thinking about. Shrugging, she brought the mug to her lips and taking a sip of sweet ginger spiced latte and let the world slide away.

Faceless

anonymous, bokeh, creepy

I have dreams every night of a crowd of faceless people. The dreams began the same way. I am walking on the street in the middle of a busy city. There are people all around me and I can hear voices, but not words. I come to the end of the street and stop to wait at the lights. It is there I notice that the people around me are faceless. Where there should be faces are just black, empty spaces. As I try to figure out why this is, the lights change. The people move off. I should go with them, but I can’t. All I can think about is why. Then I wake up.

I lie in bed and think about it. What does this dream mean? Why are the people faceless? It fades and I get up. I go about my day and don’t think about it anymore. When I go to bed though, it returns. Once again, I’m in the city. I walk down the street and around me are all these people. I can hear them talking, but can’t fully make out the words. The street ends and I wait for the lights to change. I look at the people close by me. They are faceless. Where the faces should be are black spaces. I wonder about this as the lights change and the people move off. I wake up soon after.

In the morning, I lie there and instead of thinking about the missing faces, I wonder why I keep having this dream. What is it trying to tell me? Good job, it’s a Sunday morning. I internet search the dream to get answers. Dreaming of faceless people could be associated with identity and the loss or inability of accepting that person. Also, linked to the desire to deepen your knowledge of someone’s personality.   

No, it did help. I looked more, but don’t find much difference. Of course, if I could figure out who these people might be that would help. There are sub-headings like faceless lover, you being faceless, blurring out face of person you know. I tell myself next time I sleep to try hard to look at the people and put more into memory.

I go to bed early, but when I wake up, my dreams were totally different.

Dreams

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There was always safety in dreams. Logic didn’t have to apply and fantasy ruled. It didn’t matter what the adventure was or who was a part of it, just that it was happening. One night I fought the grim reaper in a sword battle and won. The next my friends and I were tripped in a church whilst zombie animals tried to get in. Then there was that one time when I had to save a beautiful woman and she invited me back to her bedroom…then she turned into a vampire and tried to bite me.

The best dreams though are the ones that only make sense of dreams. Like the time I wrote the world’s best novel ever. I was sitting in a cafe and was working on the final drift, but this old man kept interrupting me with his ideas which then I ended up writing into the novel and the old man got his name on the cover instead of me! Or the time I came across a group of kids who had a time machine that was an massive acorn.

Of course, Nightmares are the worse, but there’s always some kind of get out and it’s only your mind playing tricks with you. My nightmares always have a graveyard or cemetery in them, which is odd but it’s how I know it’s a bad dream. I’ve been having this repeating on lately. I’m being chased by something, it’s like a dark shadows that take on long human and animal shapes. I’ve no idea what they want, but I hide in this old cemetery, which seems to go on forever. Then I always come to this cliff edge, which is well hidden by large statues of like Romans.

I always try hard to stop myself from falling, but then I always do. On waking, I know I’ve just died in the dream and it takes me awhile to realise I’m alive. I hate those kind of dreams. What do you think it means? That I’m going to die tragically? That I’m trying to run away from something I can’t let go of? I just don’t understand it. I prefer the happy dreams.

Do you think that’s why I’m here, Doc? ‘Cause my dreams are making me insane? I didn’t even know that was possible, but I guess anything can be…Like they say dreams can come true, so I bet nightmares come real too, don’t they?

The Train Station (Part 5)

Train Station

Bridget did not want to leave the train station, but the hour of people watching was over and she had to go to work. Packing up her things, she put on her headphones and selected a random play list. Enjoying the fact there had been no bad piano players today- in fact no one had touched the instrument- she left the station.

Stepping out into a light rain fall, she hurried to the bus station, ignoring the people all around her. The loud music did a good job of covering up all the voices and other background noises of the city. Avoiding walking under the scaffolding of a building being done up, she stepped on the tram lines and went up the hill.

Reaching the tram station, which looked empty, she headed across to the bus station and waited for her bus home. Her thoughts flipped back to seeing those two men- Drew and Sas. Who were they? What was their story? Bridget let her imagination run and she began to picture them as lovers, not long been together. There was some trouble with their families. Maybe, one of them had not been able to tell his family? Drew, the man who had been waiting and clearly stressed had serious Catholic parents and he knew if they found out he was in love with a man they’d disown him.

Bridget shook her head, deciding that would not do. The bus pulled up and the doors opened. She dug out her day pass and joined the queue to get on. Showing her ticket and sitting down, her mind was still wondering what the problem was with those two men. There was just something about them she couldn’t get rid of. Resting her head lightly against the cold window, she shut her eyes and tried to let everything go. It would not do having that kind of story in her head when she arrived for work.

All too soon, she was getting off the bus and crossing the road over to the youth center. The rain had gotten worse and was now rapidly coming down. Bridget was early, but a few junior club members were already hanging around outside waiting to come in. Slipping her headphones off, Bridget said her hellos as she dig around for her id badge. The doors opened before her anyway and she stepped inside.

‘I can’t believe this weather!’ the receptionist cried.

Bridget nodded and signed in. Not feeling in the mood to chat with the older woman. The receptionist had short dark blonde hair, hard blue eyes and a pinched together looking face. She was wearing the center’s light green t-shirt and black trousers.

‘It was so nice before and now it’s raining again. I’m meant to be going out tonight too…’ she added

‘It’ll have stopped by then,’ Bridget said.

‘I hope so.’

Placing down the pen, Bridget hurried to get changed in the staff room. Thankfully, the small room was empty and she switched her t-shirts with ease. Coming out again, she crossed the center’s large open main space and to what looked at first glance to be a bar area, but was actually the art’s corner. Humming to herself and thinking about what she was going to do, Bridget began opening cupboards and pulling things out.

Luckily, Bridget’s shift went fast and she was home before she knew it. Though she was very grateful. Feet hurting, she got changed and went into the kitchen barefoot. Her mum, who she had spoken too already was curled on the sofa watching a movie. Bridget made herself some tomato soup and a ham sandwich. Taking them upstairs, she eat then got writing up her notes from the day.

Her mind began to wonder once more and she looked carefully at what she was writing, Bridget decided she had to know more about those two men. What was going on between Drew and Sas?

Sadly, she knew she would never find out.

 

To Be Continued…