, untouched, it lies there thinking; it is my heaven
. Two years ago now I first set foot there. I was reluctantly taking part in a family holiday to Antigua
. I was thirteen at the time. I had good friends at home and wasn’t overly excited at the prospect of a week with my family.
My brother and sister were both a lot younger than me and I didn’t share their interests at all. They enjoyed playing “tag” around the large dolphin shaped pool at the hotel or playing chess in the lounge whilst drinking a coca-cola. I was in the middle of a stage of disrespect for my parents, and I couldn’t find respect for any of their actions. All they did seemed to be for themselves and, to be honest, I disliked them intensely although I tried to hide this. I spent the first few days of this holiday in my room crying, at what I don’t know. I just had an indescribable feeling of depression for which I couldn’t find the source or the cure.
On about the third night of the holiday I decided I needed to go and have a walk and think about life and the many problems associated with it. I still remember running through a forest for what seemed to be ages. The sound of twigs snapping beneath my feet was crisp in my ears. Warm beads of tears were streaming down my face, and they do even now as I recall this. I remember coming to a clearing in the forest and being hit by the salty smell of the sea and hearing the soothing sound of the waves lapping rhythmically upon the shore. That’s when I first felt it. This is where I belonged; this was home.
I sat on the beach for ages that night, the tops of the waves glowed in the light of the moon as I gazed out to sea. It all seemed so pure; perfect white sand reflected the small light under which it lay. The cool sea breeze chilled my tear stained face. The trees behind me whispered in the wind, but apart from that there was silence. No fish splashed in the sea; no birds flew in the sky, no other sign of life. My soul seemed out of place, like I was polluting the perfection that surrounded me. I lost track of time, totally absorbed by the beauty of my surroundings.
I must have been sitting on the sea of sandy perfection for hours. Staring up at the stars and watching them harmlessly perform their everyday duties, why wasn’t it that simple for me? My legs closely hugged up to my warm chest, I rested my chin on my knees licking the salty tears before they dropped onto my torn jeans. As I played with the sand, picking it up and feeling its roughness as it slipped between my shaking fingers, I felt a hand on my shoulder.
I didn’t think it was a hand, for it felt more like a feather. The touch was so infinitely gentle. Brought suddenly out of my trance, I turned my face away from the fresh taste of the crisp sea air and saw a girl. I guessed her to be about my age, she wasn’t stunningly attractive but there was definitely something about her. Her face, imperfectly proportioned to the point of perfection, portrayed something I can’t describe.
I didn’t say anything; I couldn’t. I felt ashamed of my tears. I don’t know why I felt ashamed, for I have always said that to show a sign of weakness is, in itself, a sign of strength. The girl remaining silent sat beside me in a similar posture and gazed out as I had before. Her baggy clothes emitting a smell I could not identify, but it bought back pleasant memories of junior school. For ages neither of us spoke and the waves on the shore slowly hypnotised me back into the sub-conscious state I had previously held.
Then she spoke. Her voice was so clear, it was very quiet but it still hurt my ears. It reverberated around my head a couple of times before I realised she had said. I know why you’re here. She continued to describe my emotions precisely and finished by portraying that she thought I felt impure compared with my surroundings. I, still having not spoken, nodded my head. She told me to gaze out to where I had looked before; just passed a small rock formation that semi submerged created a slight disruption in the surface of the water, and follow the complex winding path that was my thoughts. I did as I was instructed and was rewarded with the most amazing emotion I have ever felt.
I was paralysed; I could not move. I could feel the beauty and perfection of the beach, entering my body and slowly cleansing my soul. The feeling was so strong, almost painful. I can’t describe it.
I was brought out of my hypnotic state by a completely calm hand on my shaking knee. I was amazed. I had never experienced anything like that before. Now I was staring into the eyes of the human who had shown me the beach and what it had beneath its perfect exterior. I think I loved her.
We talked for a bit. All the time I was feeling refreshed; my soul was clean and pure. I was at one with the beauty that surrounded me; my breathing started to fit in with the rhythmic lapping of the waves and the whispering of the trees; I was at peace. Tania lent forward to kiss me on the forehead. I wasn’t expecting this, but it was incredible. The feeling ran right through my body; down my spine warming my whole body then back, it appeared, to her lips. This was the first time she had touched my skin, I will never forget the feeling. I looked at the hand that was still placed on my knee then followed up to her arm where I noticed the jumper she was wearing was damp. I rolled up her sleeve. I noticed her slowly closing her dark eyes. A single tear escaping before they were closed. When her sleeve was rolled up to her elbow I could make out a cut, like a small canyon running down her forearm. Blood was seeping out of the cut; it was horrible.
I looked into her eyes. The faint glow of the moon lighting up her beautiful face. Her eyes were so deep. As I stared into them; through the tears I could see pain. My eyes wandered over the sea; up at the sky and the stars, which were so bright as there was no light pollution; along the shoreline where the small waves crashed onto the sand and then returned to her eyes. I knew why she had done it. I understood.
She took a knife out from her pocket. I couldn’t make out much detail but I could see it covered in fresh blood; she handed it over to me. My hand, now shaking again, accepted it. I’m not sure what she meant for me to do with it. Completely under the control of my feeling of horror at what I had just seen, and my feeling of love for Tania, I mechanically placed the blade on my arm. It felt cold and menacing but right. I stared into her dark brown eyes and slowly pushed the blade through my arm. I could feel no physical pain, for my emotions were to strong. Afterwards Tania held my arm and wiped the blood as it dripped down. I wasn’t scared. I never could be when I’m with her. I don’t know if I fell in love with Tania or the beach, but every year we return; to clean our souls in the purity of our beach, to listen to the silence, to see the beauty, to feel our love.