Back in the van now. How busy the world must be, immediately outside my window. How busy it is. Parked aside a main road. Now.
But, before. Before, submerged in the deep blue, nothingness. But lights, distant lights. Hints at humanity.
An empty beach, were it for 200 neatly positioned deck chairs, sun loungers and umbrellas, awaiting the swell of humanity. Street lights on the distant coast, twinkling. They look beautiful, but why must standards be measured by what humanity has provided? Street lights were not beautiful until they landed here, until we called them beautiful. What about the sky? Shouldn’t that be enough? I’ve read about this once before. I cannot articulate the point as eloquently or indeed sensibly, so I won’t try. And yachts. Giant yachts, with their daunting, expensive presence, carrying their expensive passengers and expensive cargo. But other than that, nothingness. Beautiful nothingness. The night sky. 3 seagulls on a pontoon. Nature loves pontoons too. How strange this all must be to a seagull, to a fish, to a bat, living in another creature’s reality. I expect they’re accustomed by now. Watching the moon set behind the hill as I glide through the water. I might have happened upon a zombie apocalypse, were it for the lights, and the occasional drunken teenager screaming into the night. And all of that aforementioned other stuff.
I feel so, so alone. So, so free. So safe. Not scared, at one with nature, with myself. The zombie apocalypse might as well have been, except for the actual zombies, they might make casual nightswimming a challenge. How do they take to water? I’m not sure.
Suddenly, a man on the beach. Is it Nick? No, wrong build. He’s staring at me… I swim behind some rocks, try to look unaffected, nonchalant. I see no other person anywhere close by. Suddenly freedom and safety dissolves into nothingness as I become aware of reality. Of the compromising situation I am in.
I’ve broken all of the swimming rules. Don’t swim after food. Don’t swim after alcohol. Don’t swim near the rocks. Don’t swim while concust (smashed my head on the pier). Don’t swim in the dark. Don’t swim alone, especially not if you’re a woman. In particular, don’t be a woman.
Please don’t tell my mum.
A car pulls into the car park close-by, the man, who I have now discovered was pissing, slowly leaves. I choose this as my moment to exit the water and vicinity. Safety in numbers? 2 drunk teenagers walk past me onto the pier, singing along to some inane bullshit Europop on their phones. Safety in inane reality? I shuffle back to the safety of the van. Back to the safety of the busy road outside. Back to the safety of the words, flowing out of me like, well, the sea.