The below is ENTIRELY fiction. It’s just me daydreaming – thought you’d like to come with me:
I catch the train to work every day. I go up the same stairs. I see the same people – the woman who always eats a mars bar as she waits at the station. The guy who wears black jeans and ‘VANS’ on his feet that look really comfortable. I sit in the same row of seats on the train, always across from the same lady in her blue Nursing scrubs. She doesn’t get off the train in the city like everyone else. I guess she must be going to Freo.
I feel like I’m living Groundhog day. Every day, the same things. Again and again.
But today is different.
Today, I don’t get off the train at the Perth station.
The doors slide open as they always do at the station but this time, I don’t get off.
Because today, I am resolved to be a rebel.
I watch as everyone gets off the train and new passengers get on. I feel a flutter of excitement in my stomach – a glimmer of happiness I didn’t think I’d feel again.
The doors slide close.
This is it, you guys!
I am going on an adventure.
The train gently takes off and I feel elated because I’m not going to work. I’m in my work clothes, covering me with responsibility and the burden of adulthood and ‘doing what’s right’.
But today, I am going to ignore that. Just for today, I’m going to do what I want.
I text my boss “Apologies, I can’t come in today” and I stare at the phone screen and the little keybaord that’s lit up.
Why can’t I come in?
What is my excuse?
And my alter-ego, the really tough version of me takes over.
“Fu*k it” she says “you don’t need to ask permission for a much needed day off” and I press send with NO EXPLANATION.
I’m not going to work and that’s all ANYONE needs to know.
Look at me go!
Suddenly the weight on my shoulders seems a little lighter.
No one but me knows I’m going AWOL and you know what? This feels awesome.
I catch the train to Glendalough where I wait for the bus to Scarborough beach.
I ride the bus, smiling – for real – the entire time. Watching people getting on and getting off.
I love long journeys, me.
I can see the sea over the hill and oh my gosh, it looks amazing. The water is sparkling. Inviting me “Come on in“
I get off the bus and walk to the supermarket. I happily put a drink and a cheeky packet of chips (that’s “crisps” to you, Marc) in my shopping basket. Maybe a bar of chocolate or some cookies, too. Outside the store I just stop. I turn my face to the sun and breathe in the wonderful salty, sea air.
I go to the store next door – a surf shop and I spend a small fortune buying an extra large beach towel – a rainbow coloured one with a palm tree on it.
I walk to a nice shady spot on the shore and breathe in deeply.
I shake out my beach towel and it lands softly on the sand.
I settle on the towel, putting my handbag to the side, opening my packet of chips and I sit.
And I breathe.
And I do nothing.
Except watch the waves come and go.
And thoughtfully munch on my chips.
The waves dance along the shore – lapping the shoreline as they bubble and burst.
And I just sit there.
I don’t take my phone out, no. Because I don’t need it.
I don’t want to text anyone and I don’t ‘need’ to check facebook.
So again, I just sit.
I slide off my work shoes and I wiggle my toes in the soft, warm sand.
And enjoy every second, soaking up the sun.
Maybe I’ll wade into the water.
Maybe I won’t.
Either way, this day is mine and I can do whatever I want with it.
Maybe I’ll visit the fish and chips store “Fish and chips for one, please” I’ll say.
And I’ll smile. A real smile.
I’ll crunch on the battered fish and get a greasy chin…and you know what? I’ll love it.
I won’t eat politely and nibble on hot chips one at a time. Nope. I’ll shove 5-6 or them at once. Ram them into my mouth and laugh because it’s so fun to just BINGE.
There is no one to impress here. No one to entertain. No one to look after.
There is just me…and this beautiful beach.
I carefully roll the corner of the towel over my handbag to hide it (haha good luck) and tuck my work shoes beside my bag. I look around and take in everyone at the beach, laughing, splashing, swimming. That one person on their own in the sea – far from everyone, pretending not to be peeing.
I see you, dude.
Pee as much as you want to, I won’t tell anyone.
I fold up my dress to above my knees.
I won’t look at the rolls on my stomach or legs today.
I won’t grimace at the stretch marks on my thighs.
I’ll just go into that crystal clear, fresh (cold) water.
At first, the water is so cold, I suck in my breath. Goodness!
But then, it’s lovely. It becomes warm. A comforting wet hug around my knees.
I shrug. I’d like to go in. Fully in…but I’m in a work dress for goodness sakes. That would be weird.
Again, my kick-ass alter ego urges me forward “Fuck it. You dont have to care what anyone else thinks“
So, I go in. All the way in. I shiver as it’s so cold and I’m up to my waist now. A big wave comes towards me and I hold my nose and go under.
For a blissful few seconds, I can’t hear anything but the bubble of the water around me.
I can’t hear what a failure I am.
Or how I need to be at work, I am letting my team down.
I can’t think about how fat I am and how crazy I look to others on the beach.
I can’t remember how much it hurts to be myself. I can only take in the cold, clear, crisp water.
THIS FEELS AMAZING.
I rise to the surface and gulp in air, smiling as I wipe the water from face.
I float on my back so that all I can see is the clear blue sky above me and all I can hear are the sounds of the ocean, murmuring away peacefully to me.
This is living the dream, you guys. This right here. Right now.
And I stay in the water for ages. Until my skin goes all wrinkly and my throat hurts from the sea salt.
When I want to – and in no particular hurry, I walk up the shore and back to my towel.
No one has taken my stuff and that makes me happy. Thank you, Father God.
I haven’t thought this through so I don’t have a towel to dry myself with.
It’s okay though, because the day is hot enough that I can air dry.
So be it.
I sit cross-legged and listen to the waves.
This is my favourite sound in the whole world. The sea. The waves. The seaguls. The chatter around me. The giggle of small children “Mom! I made a sand castle! Look!”.
I love this.
I close my eyes and let the sun warm my face; and dry my dress.
I spend the whole afternoon like that – alternating between swimming in the sea and sitting on the shore to listen to the waves.
I text Alun as it’s near the time I would be travelling home.
But I am at the beach!
(Shh. Don’t tell).
“Hey Gorg, I’m having a great day. Hope you are, too. I love you xx“
I sit and watch the sun go down, eating some of the cookies I bought earlier.
Choc chip. Yum.
This has been the BEST DAY EVER.