A Day at the Beach

There had not been a cloud in the sky all week. The tourists flocked in. We couldn’t clear the cafe tables quick enough.

Her slow, deliberate step made her stand out among the rush of bathing suits and sunglasses and small, sticky faces. Her arms trembled, knuckles white against the back of the chair, as she lowered herself down into a spot of shade by the window.

One pot of tea, and a side of bread and butter, please.

She sat and watched the tide creep up the beach, her eyes puckered against the blaze of white sand like she was looking for someone.

Sandcastles rose and fell. Toddlers splashed in the surf. Empty deckchairs hung like ceremonial flags.

A top-up on the tea and a slice of Victoria sponge, please.

The wedge of sunlight inched up onto her table towards her like the tide. She gathered her bag to her chest, withdrawing a crumpled five pound note, and tucked it neatly under her teapot.

I cleared her things. Everything alright for you?

“Oh yes,” she said, looking out to the beach with a sigh. “It’s good to be back.” She watched a seagull arc lazily across the surf. “This was our Simon’s favourite spot,” she said, her eyes suddenly watery. She smiled mechanically and picked up her napkin from the table. “We’ve come for years. Didn’t seem right to cancel the reservation.”

She dabbed at her eyes and tucked the napkin into her sleeve.

By the time I’d brought her change back, a family group was lining up ready to take her table. She refused my offer of help, but not unkindly. The mother tutted, juggling a fretting baby and a rubber ring. I barely had time to wipe down before the family were pulling back seats. The baby began to cry.

“Don’t blame me,” the mother was saying, “I told you we should have just spent the money and gone to Disneyland.”

Happy #WritingAdvent! For Day 9 we were sent to Postcard from the Past and picked one as our jumping-off point for a minimalist story. I chose this one:

Postcard

which came complete with the quote, “It’s not much fun on your own.”

The aim was to trim out anything unnecessary and let the reader make the links in their own mind. How did I do? Anything you think could go? Anything you think is missing? Leave me a comment below, and link me up if you’re writing anything fun at the moment 🙂

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