All that she wanted was a quiet weekend by the sea. The cheap weekender at the isolated beach was ideal for this purpose. Late evening on the day of her arrival, when the sun was setting, she ambled out to the beach. She was as nude of clothing as the sky, sea and sand were nude of life forms. So she thought, as she marveled at the sight of the ever-changing sky.
God is kind to us Earthlings, she thought. As our home rotates on its axis in its travels round the sun, I am allowed to experience the beauty of the setting sun through all my senses, particularly my eyes, skin and soul. I am also allowed to believe that that beautiful ball is sinking slowly below the surface of my home only for its nightly rest. It will surface on the other side the next morning to continue its work.
Her joy was, however, spoilt abruptly at the sight of a large figure garbed in what appeared to be an overcoat. He was leaning back on a huge rock, seemingly enjoying the glorious spectacle before him. Being a generous person, she was pleased that another person was also able to savour the moment. However, she was not adequately clothed for social intercourse. Yet, being young and therefore superbly confident that gravity had not got the better of any of her parts, she decided to move a little closer to the figure. She was intrigued.
The figure seemed to be standing in a pool of water periodically enhanced by the sloshing waves. That is not an unusual sight at the sea’s edge. But the proportions of the figure were somehow not correct. The head was not as big as one might expect, and there was no visible neck. As she moved with some trepidation towards the figure, it seemed to slip feet first into the water. By the time she got a little closer, the figure had disappeared below the gentle waves. Believing that the person had drowned, she panicked. She did not own a mobile phone, and she was a fair distance from the nearest human habitation.
Since she was a competent swimmer, she ran into the shallows intending to save the person from drowning. Then, she stopped. A converse thought had intervened. Would she be interfering with a bid for suicide? What right did she have to disrupt someone else’s legitimate wish? No, she was no one’s guardian, she decided. Why spoil her temporary escape from that vicious segment of society that was her place of employment? She thus quickly turned her mind away from a temporary turmoil to the cocoon of contemplation.
Suddenly, a voice broke into her thoughts. She did not actually hear it. The thought reached her mind as she contemplated the sea where the person had disappeared. The voice, if it was a voice, said very clearly, “You are a good person, to think about saving my life. However, I am not committing suicide. Like your sun which needs a rest from its labours over you and yours, I need to go below the surface at the end of a tiring day. My rest, however, is in life-rejuvenating water.” Then, there was no voice. The semantic silence was without and within.
(These are the opening paragraphs of a piece of fiction titled ‘Nothing fishy at the seaside’ in ‘Pithy Perspectives: A smorgasbord of short, short stories.’ It is my only book of fiction. Available at Amazon Kindle @ $US 2.99.
It has been reviewed most favourably. The collection has been described as ranging from wacky to weird to frightening to uplifting.)