Sunday, July 5, 2009

Beached

( Picture source: google.com)


It was the way he always remembered her – burrowing her little feet in the cool, soft sand; her trail of footprints slowly filling up by the tide, washing away the trace of her journey. Wisps of her curly, black hair tickling her nose as they swayed to the singing winds in chorus with the rambling waves. Her deep-set eyes looked out toward the ocean, past the ripples in the sand, fleeting over the pebbles, pausing a moment on the broken shells, then staring off into the distance beyond the comber. It was odd though, he noticed that she wasn’t dressed for the beach – dark suede jeans rolled up to her knees, freckled by wet grains of sand; knitted black sweater and a thin cream silk scarf that flayed in the breeze.

She leaned forward digging her nails into the mud, manipulating a lump into a ball, kneading slowly, pressing the heels of her palms down, pushing forward firmly, then digging out again – repeating the mastication again and again, each time laying her open palm with her offering to the goddess of the sea.

The sun was gradually dipping out of sight behind them, casting a fiery halo above her head. The fluffy white clouds turned candy-floss pink in contrast to her wistful, dark aura.

He cast his last line for the day, hoping that this time luck would be on his side. By now, as the moon gradually rose out of the depths, the beach was deserted, yet she still sat there, her crepuscular silhouette rocking to the rhythm of the ebb and flow.

Thinking back, he still found it peculiar but somewhat beguiling that in her seemingly pensive state, she was completely oblivious to the stranger nestled between the foam-covered rocks.

His final cast yielded no reward. As he packed his fishing tackle back into the box and prepared to head home empty-handed, he contemplated walking up to her but he didn’t want to scare her.
His was a quiet demeanour. He wasn’t the kind of guy who was comfortable talking to women. He usually “fumbled and crumbled”, as his friends often joked.
Of course he was curious as to why she was there all alone – perhaps she was waiting for someone or just for the moon to gleam its spotlight on her.

He walked towards her, fishing rod on his shoulder, tackle-box in hand, his rubber boots making squishy, wet, embarrassing sounds, but she didn’t flinch. He passed just behind her, mumbling a hesitant “hello”, fighting the urge to say more or ask if she was ok, or needed anything. She barely lifted her head but he did hear a soft “hi” in response, while she continued to paint swirls in the sand.

As he got into his car to leave, he looked out towards her one last time. He couldn’t help but notice the ominous glow cast by the moon on the murky waters. A sombre figure alone on the beach, as the waves gushed towards her, was now playing with the shell shards that shined mother of pearl in her hands.

He set up his line the next morning in his usual spot between the boulders as the sun rose sleepily. As was his usual routine in the mornings, he began to clear away any debris that had been washed up and spit out by the ocean over night. A familiar cream silk scarf swam and danced in the little rock pools below his niche.

3 comments:

sid said...

Jesus that was depressing.

Fanaah said...

You describe a moment by the sea..just how it should be beautifully.

desert demons said...

sid - perhaps in life we have those moments and if we don't act on them, we wonder wat could've been - could he hav saved her?

Fanaah - thank you, i was truly inspired.