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To say that this place looked beautiful at sunset was an understatement. It was beyond that. She sat in her usual spot amongst the rocks where the old bathing pool used to be. Never could she gain this level of serenity in any other place. She was finally home.

There was a strange stillness in the air, a light breeze teasing the curls out of her dark hair. The largest star in the galaxy burned like an inferno behind her as it sank slowly into the horizon. Emitting streams of salmon pink and shades of burnt autumn leaves, it sucked in the light of the traumatic day she had had and instead left a darkness that engulfed the town. Grey clouds began to eclipse the burning orb of fire, dimming its light and dampening its rays, putting out the stray tendrils until finally covering the star itself.

The leaden sea lay still like a block of fresh slate before her, not yet written on with a white chalk. Pure. The only hint that it wasn’t a concrete object was the sound of the ripples of the tide lapping at the bottom of the rocks.

A trading boat moved smoothly on the horizon, its small lights reflecting on the murky water. She envied its graceful journey along the channel; it being able to travel while she was trapped in the place she called home. The moon’s reflection was interrupted by the gentle flow of ripples produced by the ship’s movement and the shape was blurry for a while. A blob of white like a splash of paint on the ocean. Yet after a few seconds, the boat passed and the vague sphere regained its shape.

At the edge of the sea stood a half demolished sandcastle, the tide deconstructing it little by little as if moving it to be reconstructed in a museum, without haste or ignorance. The masterpiece of some child or other. A small flag was drooping from one of the turrets, its frayed edge touching the water and moving with the currents. There was no telling where it would end up, whose hand would touch the silky texture, who would admire it as it stood on another’s castle. There was no telling.

The beach was abandoned. Void. Yet the remains of the day were still present. Empty chip packets, stray sunhats, the names of lovers engraved in the sand. All these would be gone soon. And replaced. By more of the same. A chip packet made of a different newspaper, a different colour sunhat, different lovers names. It was always changing. But forever the same.

The last seagulls were crying above her head and she realised that she should make her way to the safety of her house. She sighed and took a handful of sand, observing the way in which it slipped through her fingers. So rapidly that it was very quickly gone. Just like time.

© Alice Morgan 2012

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