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The whisper of the beach goddess (standard:drama, 1237 words)
Author: BeachcomberAdded: Oct 18 2004Views/Reads: 1972/1206Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
The mind is a strange place. It is inhabited by whispers. It is these whispers that speak the words we live by...or die by.

The man is naked and overweight and sits precariously balanced on a rock
ledge that juts out over the waves. Between where he sits and where I 
sit, there is nothing but a mound of discarded clothes and a two 
hundred foot drop. 

Pain cuts thinly across his brow, circling his eyes, now sunken into
their bruised and brown sockets, before it disappears into the frosted 
hair on his temple.  I've seen the same hopelessness in the eyes of 
caged animals, lifeless eyes that never see a chance of escape, or have 
any awareness that tomorrow could be different. 

The man is motionless but for his fingers, with their beautifully
manicured nails, busily twiddling a gold ring. 

The sun, no longer round, is losing its brilliance melting below the
tangerine horizon, spreading a buttery glow across the ocean. Serenity 
is today's feeling. No wind screams through the dune grasses, nor drops 
the needles of the Monterey Pines sheltering my home. It has been a day 
when dry foam covers the beach, each wave rolling in only for another 
to overtake it, lapping reverentially over the sand. For many this is a 
remote place, my place, but now this man has come. 

I make no effort to communicate with him, pondering only why he chooses
nakedness. I assume if he wants to talk, he'll give me a signal. After 
a couple more minutes sitting motionless, he makes the slightest of 
movements. A young gull might make the same movement before its first 
venture into the sky. I decide to offer a point of view. 

“Look, even if you push out real hard you won't clear the rocks below.
In fact,” I say, stating the obvious, “even if you were to get up, take 
a couple of steps back and leap like an antelope, you still won't clear 
them.” I make no effort to dramatise the point he's at in his life, 
keeping my statement matter of fact. I stare down between my sandaled 
feet and, thinking aloud, murmur, “...mind, the best thing about not 
clearing them is nothing will ever hurt again. That's always a plus I 

There's no response from him, no sign of life but for the finger nails
of one hand scraping at the rock. I make one further assertion. “...and 
there's no fear of drowning, not with the tide being so far out.” We 
continue to gaze toward the horizon. 

The shoreline below and the small house behind is where I live out my
life. It's a simplistic lifestyle. Having lived in several different 
cities I always came back to beaches. It's as simple as needing 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 feeling of uncertainty still grabs 
at me as though I'm a child; when every fright could hold a laugh or a 
present, like Grimms' fairy tale or Halloween. 

Different heights of growing changed my perceptions. When I was three
feet tall so much seemed of the same magnitude, merry-go-rounds, rice 
pudding, Christmas, Bambi, even the world. When I was three feet tall I 
learned not to save the best things till last, understanding that ice 
cream melts far quicker in summer. Between being five and six feet tall 
I learned that beaches, rocks, and crabs are a far cry from the grocer 
who, during those terribly serious winter weekends, sprinkled salt in 
front of his shop on Baker Street. 

All the many different perspectives of growing have engrained themselves
into my thinking, like stab wounds, books, divorce, death, war, love, a 
mushroom cloud of happenings and events, many of which never passed me 
by, some enough to make me wish for another world. 

It's difficult to imagine what the stranger is thinking, or what his
perspectives might be, precariously balanced, as he is, between life 
and death. 

I first observed him from the window of my home, walking slightly
hunched, mournful, as I might imagine an alien to walk, without 
meaningful direction or purpose. Then, as if some light had lit for 
him, he suddenly turned off the road and carefully trod out onto the 
grass covered ledge that jutted out over the beach below. It seems 
incredulous to me that this man, having decided to place himself so 

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