Coastal Sanctuary

Merit in the 'Spread The Word 2017' competition

I usually love coming here, but not today.

This is the one place I can come without anyone staring at me. My coastal sanctuary.

Rays of sunshine beam down on the waves of the beach, trying to show me a hint of happiness. Not today.

A couple walk past, smiling. I force a smile back, then throw my hands into my pockets. Not today.
I wander down the sand, towards my favourite dune.

Annoyingly enough, an old lady is already sitting there. I quickly check my phone for the time. I sit on a different patch of the dune, hoping she won’t stay long.

She smells of valuable perfume and has a wrinkley smile on her face, like she’s permanently peaceful. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch her observing me.

“That view, truly magnificent,” she says, attempting to begin conversation.

It’s true. I look out over the vast ocean, the divine light perfecting every tiny detail of ocean and sand.

She smiles a sparkling smile. My face droops further.

“You have no companion, why?” She asks.

She hasn’t noticed it yet.

“I have no one,” I wheeze, attempting to hide my past, but my history is stamped across my face, like an everlasting memory.

I adjust my posture and check the time on my phone again.

She’s noticed.

She doesn’t break her stare, though, like everyone does.

Is this what friendship feels like? I’ve read about it before, but never really felt it.

“Beauty comes in many forms,” she continues. “each of us sees the world differently. Some of us like cold, crisp mornings and others only the warmth of the sun.”

I became confused, I much preferred a warm morning myself, that way I could swim in the water to pass the time. Though I’m still confused as to why she made a perspective statement.

The lady handed me an embroidered handkerchief. I was completely speechless now, first a confusing comment regarding opinion, and now an extremely well-crafted handkerchief, I thanked her.

She smiled in a sympathetic manner.

“Take a risk,” she tells me as she gradually gets up, popping her knuckles and cracking her legs.

Suddenly, I realise I still have her handkerchief.

I look back to where she was sitting. She disappeared. I looked around, but she was truly gone, a tear trickled down my face.

I looked at the handkerchief, the embroidered stitching is unmistakable. Elizabeth Katherina. I run my hand over the thread, admiring its delicacy.

After weeks of uncertainty, I suddenly feel strong and my mind is made up.

“I can do this,” I say out loud.

As the sun begins to rise, the light on the nameplate flares like silver and catches my eye.

My fingers trace the sunny, steel plate.

My body freezes severely as I read…

Elizabeth Katherina
“The view always took away her breath ”
1945-2018

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