At the Beach

Josie knelt in the sand, grabbed a bucket, and started filling.

Handful by handful, the bucket grew heavier. Josie stopped, swirled her hand inside, and pushed down, compressing it all. Then she started scooping some more.

When the bucket was filled to the top, Josie stood. She grabbed the bucket, her tiny arm straining to lift it off the ground. She pulled it over a metre or so, then stopped. She pushed the bucket over on its side, then upended it all the way. She hit the top, as her mother and told her to do, and slowly lifted the bucket off the sand.

A perfect cone stood in front of her, wider at the base, tapering just a little, and flat at the top. Josie admired her work.

Nodding, she stood. Three more cones to make, then she needed to start on the walls.

Escape

Tyron stared out the window at the beautiful sun, shining on a beautiful beach, overlooking a beautiful ocean. He saw seagulls soaring, people tanning, everything he could want on the coast.

He blinked, and Tyron saw the snow swirl on the highway his office looked out on. Cars drove slowly, and a few spun off the road. He sighed, and returned to work.

Escape

Inga stood on the ledge and looked down. Below her, the water lapped quietly at the shore.

The wind blew, pushing against her back, urging her to jump. Inga thought about it, but no, not yet.

She closed her eyes and spread her arms and let the wind flow around her. Small gusts, never enough to unbalance her, but always that gentle push forward, over the edge. The sand below was a bright gold, the water caressing, the sun making it all glisten and gleam like a thousand jewels in a monarch’s ill-gotten treasure chest.

Inga opened her eyes again. In the distance, she could see an island. Not large, but uninhabited, at least as much as she could see. Mostly green, full of trees and bushes. But too far to be sure. Too far to even know if it was real. Maybe it was a trick of the light, or her mind. It didn’t matter.

Inga lowered her arms. She looked down again. She reached her foot forward to the first step. She found it, hoped it wouldn’t give way beneath her. She took another step. And another.

The wind followed her down the stairs, pushing her forward toward the water. Tempting her over the side. She listened to the wind, but didn’t give in. It kept swirling and prodding, suggesting and demanding. She kept her counsel, but listened to its ideas.

Reaching the bottom of the steps, Inga placed her feet on the sand. Shifty sand. Never stable, always moving. Soft and sweet.

She walked to the water, stopped just above the waves, and looked out. The island was gone. Out of view, out of mind, out. Inga breathed in. The wind told her to go find it. She considered it. She turned around.

Walking back up the steps, the wind fought, but she fought back. She reached the top again, turned and looked. A sliver, perhaps, on the horizon. The wind was quieter now, giving one last half-hearted attempt. She turned away, walking home.

Beachfront Condo

“Just think Hank, we could go swimming all day, then walk 100 feet to our home, peel off our clothes, and make love in the sunset, and we could have bonfires on the beach and invite all our friends. It will be so romantic!”

“Just think Helen, we’ll have an even bigger mortgage, and not enough money to pay for the wood for the fire, or a phone line to call our friends, or food.” Hank folded his arms.

“It will be beautiful, and you said you were getting a pay raise. We need to keep our standard of living commensurate with our income!”

“You’ve been reading the Wall Street Journal again, haven’t you?”

“Why, because I used the word commensurate?”

“Yeah, you always have some new big word when you read that thing.”

“Hank, can you at least think about it before you shoot down my idea?”

“Of course dear. Here, let me think. No.”

“You barely considered that! Give it a real think over. Let me at least have an argument. We’re supposed to be equals in this marriage thing, you know.”

“Right, sorry, go ahead hun.”

She stepped in front of him as if she were about to give a presentation. “Well, on top of the romantic parts,” she winked at him, and pushed her sizable breasts up just enough that it seemed they would topple out of her shirt, “we would be moving closer to your work, and we’d be closer to the grocery store, so we’d save on gas, and we could always rent it out in the summer when we go vacationing. We could even take this summer off for vacations; moving in would be like our vacation, and we could put that money in to the down payment.” She gave a little hop, just to keep his eyes where she knew she could convince him.

He paused a second too long, and she knew she had him. When he made eye contact again, he gave in. “Oh, all right.” She squeeled in delight, and immediately hopped on this lap, giving him a deeply kiss before pulling his tie off.