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The Beach Goddess (standard:drama, 840 words)
Author: CyranoAdded: May 21 2006Views/Reads: 2149/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
We learn different perspectives on reaching different heights. A stranger standing on a ledge, two hundred feet above the oceans edge, has a different persective to mine, sitting several feet away and resenting the intrusion of his life in mine, and what

The Beach Goddess 

© Kelly_Shaw2001 

I sat across from him, my legs dangling over the ledge, while he stood
staring out toward the ocean, his clothes piled at his feet. Six feet 
of space separates us, six thousand differences. There's no light in 
his eyes, just emptiness; the same emptiness you see in the eyes of 
animals held in cages, the way they look out at people. 

“Look, even if you take a real hard run at it you won't clear the rocks
below.” I say, stating the obvious. 

There's no intelligible response from him, no sign of life, but for his
fingernails scraping blood from his thigh. I make a further 

“Mind you, the best thing about not clearing the rocks is nothing will
ever hurt you again. That's always a plus.”  We both stare to the 

He makes the slightest of movement. The kind of momentary flap of
hesitation a young gull might make before its first venture into the 
sky. It prompts me, nervously, to state another point of view. 

“By design, just so you know, life is not intended to answer

This shoreline, these cliff tops, that small house set back in that
copse is where I've chosen to settle out my life. It's a simplistic 
lifestyle purposely designed to get away from cross streets, traffic 
lights, neighbours, and the kinds of day where at anytime and for no 
reason I might feel a sense of terror. No matter how old I get the same 
feeling of uncertainty grabs at me, as though I were still a child; 
where every fright can hold a laugh or a horror, like a Grimms' fairy 
tale or Halloween. 

It's impossible to imagine what the stranger is thinking or what his
perspectives are standing precariously, as he is, between life and 
death. I could tell him that perceptions change on reaching differing 
heights, that when I was three feet tall everything seemed of the same 
magnitude: merry-go-rounds, rice pudding, Christmas, Bambi, the whole 
world in fact. By the time I was four feet high I learned not to save 
the all best things till last, understanding that ice cream melts 
faster in the summer. I'd reached another height when I realised that 
beaches, rocks, sea salt and crabs are a far cry from the grocer 
sprinkling salt in front of his shop on Baker Street during those 
terribly serious winter weekends. 

Different perspectives have impregnated my thinking like stab wounds.
Perspectives have changed because of books, divorce, death, war, love, 
in fact a mushroom cloud of happenings and events, many of which never 
passed me by and some important enough to make me wish every day for 
another world. 

I don't want this man to leap to his death, not because I care about
him, I don't. The reason I decided to interfere is simply a matter of 
selfishness. If he should leap from this rock, so close to my home, 
I'll be dealing with the intrusion of police, sightseers, and then, God 
forbid, the family mourners. I'd have a week of people coming to see 
the rock from which he leapt, crying, leaving flowers, screaming how 
they didn't know things were so bad for him. I might as well be back in 
Baker Street. 

Does he wonder what's going through my head? Does he care? Of course
not, he's too wrapped up in his own insecurities. I'm so happy here 
it's hard to control my dissatisfaction at the thought of his presence. 
Couldn't he go through this hateful stuff somewhere else? I can't 
fathom why he'd want to contaminate the frothy excitement with the red 
of his anguish. Does he not know that his chosen demise won't get a 
mention back in the concrete world of barking dogs, traffic lights, two 
wheel bikes, and mad butchers with cleavers? 

No-one is going to care whether he's had transsexual therapy, too many
martini lunches, or if his car failed a roadworthy test. 

He comes seeking out my beach. Does he know how many beaches there are
and how many are better suited to his present frame of mind? So I sit  
while he stands naked against the wind, staring out to sea, and we have 
no understanding of each other's perspectives on life. We're like ill 
fitting dentures against the gum of reality. He shifts nervously. A few 
granules of dust fly away. 

“Just so you know, I'll not report the fact you leapt off, if that's
your intention. Oh sure they'll find you, some days up ahead, it's a 
kind of unwritten law; the sea gives up what doesn't belong to her.” 

At that very moment the temptations of the Beach Goddess must have
spoken more sense to him. His clothes, like a memorial on the cliff 
top, are all that remain of a life once walked here. 

A couple of days from now flowers will bloom where such flowers never
grow. They will not last, and when they have gone, the shoreline will 
become mine again. 


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