Winter Beach Walk

She ran to collect her hat that had blown off her head a second time. The sky was dark and wind whipped around her, sometimes pushing her faster along the beach and sometimes holding her back. Her cheeks were red and wet from the wind and rain. Her dog ran ahead of her, barking at the waves and the gulls and the occasional pelican.


The hat hand landed in a clump of brown seaweed but was not too wet or smelly, so she brushed in off and shoved it back on.


She thought about the dinner she had to cook. She had all the vegetables, and the lamb should be ok. If she headed home shortly she could throw it all in and it would be ready for lunch. She could get the fire started and sit on the couch and read. Or perhaps she’d fire up the laptop and try to finish the Christmas letter. She hated it, but she’d written it for her mother for so long that it would be rude to stop now. She wondered how much anyone really cared about her sisters’ kids and which grade they were in, or which university they’d got into (and noticed that the paragraph about the university they’d dropped out of had disappeared before her mother sent it out.). Perhaps she was just a bitter old spinster. She laughed into the wind at that thought.


Perhaps she’d have a nap. Lying on the couch in front of the fire, put on a bit of Debussy. Perhaps she’d open a bottle of wine – how decadent, especially in the middle of the afternoon. It was her last day alone – her younger sister and the kids would arrive tomorrow in a flurry of Barbies and sporting equipment and she loved it, it was fun and they were marvellous. Thank god both her sisters had married men she liked – she could have a joke and a beer with them, and the kids loved her and she loved them. But it was nice being here alone.


She strode from the beach, clipping the lead back onto his collar and stepping up the pace as her feet found solid ground. As she approached the house, she saw another car in the driveway. She took a deep breath – they’d come a day early. It was wonderful, but awful, but wonderful. 


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