In the past on the beach


The colours must have been different, not like we know them. Our humming flickering – all that contained hysteria of the screen’s dancing electric pulses, the primary colours of advertising, the tiny ink dots of print, the black and white of pages, unread words just so many lines of empty cargo ships. My purple plastic pen snaking purple ink in the margins of a novel.

No. Before all of this. More muted maybe. Ocean blue and grey, and violent white, reflecting light. Mixed with the low rush of waves, wind, salt and seaweed.

A buffeting colour.

Also the colour of the sun splattered behind your eyelids after you look at the sky for too long, or caught in the lashes of squinted eyes like ripples of mother of pearl. The heartbeat flash as an unfurled wing hits sunlight. The many colours of leaves and skin. Of watching eyes, the colour dissolving in the sudden crinkling of happiness or a flooding of tears. In the days the earth breathed differently.

Before dyed cotton blundered up the beach, maybe popping the trailing bluebottles with their surprising electric seam with sturdy black or brown leather. The metallic of guns a new kind of shine.

The rainbow pulse of a fish fades at our feet. Yours flushed pink, mine strangely tinged blue with painted purple nails, toes digging in sand. In your hands a fishing rod, in mine a sketch book. We will light a fire, flesh will roast sweetly and we’ll eat with our hands out of lemony foil.

Silent, watching water. We both like oceans.


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