I drove on the road I always drive on, going I’m not sure where while the sun sets over York. I decide that rather than turn around to no plans and an empty room that I continue on that road until I reach the sea. Drive several miles and reach Scarborough. Then I’ll feel better, I know I will.
There is something very therapeutic about the sea, the motion, the smell, the sound. It always continues to move, never ceases, never tires. It’s not the sand or sea I know, but it’s a salty reminder of a place I’d retreat to nearer home.
As soon as I see the sea over the horizon I feel lighter. I’m brimming with excitement. I don’t expect it to wash away how I feel, but to numb the sting of a painful feeling I’d forgotten.
My car window is down to hear the sea crashing with it’s chorus of seagulls to soak up a memory of the moment so I can return to it in bleaker times.
I had no plan once I got there, I drove along the entire sea front until I reached open road again. I turned around and headed back from where I came to find a space to park up.
I parked opposite the beach and headed straight for it. My Converse sank in the sand before it evened out on a solid patch of sand that was previously the sea bed. It’s strange how the sea’s drag removes all remnients of indent from the sand, mostly. The odd bit of seaweed lays isolated out of the water, but the majority of the sand is smooth and reflective. It has mingled with the water and now is not the same as it was before, but something new entirely.
As I reach this point I notice there is only three other people on this beach. A couple with a toddler playing in the sea. I must look odd to them, out of place almost. This single entity staring at the ocean in a summers dress, converse and a parker.
It bothers me for a second. Then it passes.
I came here on a whim, I think. In an endeavour to feel like myself, to feel at home in a place that isn’t yet home.
I walk. I sit. I observe. I can’t help but check over my shoulder also. I must look odd being here alone, I feel almost vulnerable. I feel vulnerable as I’ve started to feel happy and more whole again. This always happens. It’ll pass, I think.
I am amazed that the sun still has not set. This whim began at 7, I arrived at 7:40 but yet the sun is still setting across the water. There is something reassuring in a long evening, light has prevailed. It lingers and the sky is now made up of blocks of strong different colours.
I begin to think of her, 300 miles away in a bed. A smile would beam across her face if she knew I had done this tonight. I had done something adventurous simply because I could, simply because I can and right now she can’t.
I feel that being grateful is underrated, or perhaps just easily forgotten. Our perspective of the world is quick to filter out another humans perspective, the opposite of our own, the worse one. I’m not sure why that is, or why it happens, but it happens again and again, so we are left feeling ungrateful.
Standing opposite the sea I am too present to not feel grateful.
I long to be in the lighthouse. I’ve only been in one once, but the window reminds me of my bay window at home. I have dreamt many times of being in a lighthouse, drawing, painting, reading, writing with the audience of the sea. It probably seems a bizarre thing to dream, but I have loved the sea for as long as I can remember.
I realise I am now the only person on the beach. I head back up to the pavement to walk along the front, past the amusements, chains, cafes until I find it. A fish and chip shop.
I’m accosted by the sound of the accent, how far away from home I am. My voice sounds uncertain and distant as I order, it reminds me of the numerous times I’d had to order food in France and spoken in a bizarre hybrid French-English accent. I stick out like a sore thumb.
I sound different and look different, so order curry sauce to compensate. Now I must blend in right?
I feel calm, despite the windswept hair situation and giant seagull colony that I appear to have attracted. I am far from the tense, crying, anxious person I was at the beginning of the drive. It’s bliss.
Someone once told me that to love your life you have to live by your values. I could not agree more. That is not to say my values are abandoning everything to the seaside and every moment, and eating calorific stereotypical location based foods. Otherwise I would look like a Yorkshire pudding by now, or the fudge from the York Fudge Co.
There isn’t any final point to this, other than this adventure helped healed a little hole I’ve been patching up for a while.
I am free from my own head and I feel exactly that, free.