Sunday, June 9, 2013


gone to the beach

Greystones is covered in cyclists but he finds somewhere to ditch the car for a few minutes, drags the bike out, pins his wife's number on her back and kisses her goodbye and good luck. He wriggles his way back out, through a warren of affluence, parks in the village, goes for a wander.
He knows this place a little, sees the flat where he used to attend sordid little parties where everyone had The Best Time and posted their Magic Memories on Bebo after, replete with rictus grins and misplaced hands.
He's on the beach now, gritty underfoot. He's not 40 seconds in before he pisses, shivering at waist depth. He dunks himself under, trying not to gasp too loudly as he comes back up so as not to startle the old man throwing a tennis ball into the sea for his dogs. He gets out quickly - the freakishly good weather hasn't warmed up the sea. He checks his phone and retrieves his wedding ring from his shoe. It is 8.08 am, and now there is no-one else on the beach, only him in his trunks, a dozen crows and a crisp packet.
He reads a passage of deep, queasy unpleasantness in his book. Are we all the same? Flies feast on strands of seaweed and the hair on his legs. There are photos somewhere of him here before, fat and tanned and faking something.
Good citizens and their dogs are starting to fill the beach now, though the waves and the sea remain the only sounds. Another swimmer appears and lasts about as long as he did in the sea, though she doesn't look the sort to only be going for a sneaky slash. He wonders where his wife's at now. The gorgeous gorse on Bray Head. A text from his mum. A man from the Tidy Towns committee picking up detritus. More dogs. More crows. Flies on his feet.