Message in a Bottle
It was my first time, though it was anything but a day for firsts. The weather was mild at best, or perhaps it could be called bleak for that time of year: my summer holiday…
It was my first time, though it was anything but a day for firsts. The weather was mild at best, or perhaps it could be called bleak for that time of year: my summer holiday. I was walking along the beach, at the water’s edge; the Waterboys song still playing in my ear – that morning I had looked up the Waterboys on Spotify. I had thought of the Waterboys when eating full English at the hotel with a sea view, headphone in to prevent. God, that categorises me, start with my being fat, middle aged and alone and work out from there. Well, I thought I would “celebrate my freedom” by strolling up to the nudist beach, further than I had thought or dared to go as a youngster playing in the wave, or a young lover posing on the towels, or a parent teaching sandcastle building skills.
My first was a walk along a near empty nudist beach with which I avoided eye contact. It was not an excitement, it was simply a way of occupying time until I cowered back to what was left of my life. It was because my eyes were fixed to the sand and the water that I saw it. A message in a bottle. Exactly like it is in the stories, washing back and forth like flotsam, a glass bottle with a big cork and very clearly a rolled up note of paper inside. My first tingle of a thrill was being part of a real rescue. Then I thought it would probably have an email address: let me know where this bottle washed up. Then I worried it might have been launched from this beach. If it came from this beach I would not reply to the message I would simply throw it back into the water. My mind made up, I took the few steps into the waves to retrieve it. I stepped back out of the water to uncork it. The note caused me to blush, it was an advert, like those ads in phone boxes. This ad had a picture of a naked man offering sex in the dunes at the other end of a phone number.
I cautiously put the note back in the bottle. I placed it on its side just out of reach of the waves.
I walked on.