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31 May 2017

Goodbye From the Sea

by Andrew

This is just beautiful. And I had just written about defending your spot, your property. What coincidence is this?

I was on the beach doing laundry in my bucket. If I look a certain way, I can see the path that leads to the beach, before it reaches the beach. And I looked-up from my laundry-bucket, still washing a shirt with my hands, and I see maybe 30 people approaching. Damn tourists, I think to myself.

I have become comfortable here, you can see. The people don't spit so much when they see me anymore. They smile and greet me—bom dia, boa tarde—for the most part. Some still spit. But to those who do, I easily ignore. I've spent how many days and nights out here in the rain and the wind and the cold and the heat? I am here. And I have earned it. And there will be more rain and wind and cold and heat ahead of course. And I will continue.

Anyway, I have never seen a group so large walking down the path. And of course they stop and begin snapping pictures and working their way down to the beach directly where I am. And just generally they are making a great clamour.

And to my right I can look and see beach for a far as I can see. To my left too, but there is a corner that blocks the view there, where I am doing laundry. And they must choose this exact spot?

I'm a bit angry, because their noise, talking and chatter and laughter, is interrupting the quiet. Well, it's not quiet. It's waves rolling and wind in my ears. But it's quiet still, a different kind. But it's not quiet now. So I am a bit angry.

And I'm pondering that truth, that people just generally attract other people. Or at least that you attract what is like you. And I genuinely believe it.

And I had just written about people intruding. And I must defend my spot. This is not their spot certainly, these toursits. It's mine, damnit. I was here first.

But I don't much mind. I am only doing laundry. I spit maybe only once—but no one saw. This is not their spot. But it's not mine either. They're just annoying me with all their noise.

And there is a man in particular who catches my eye. He stands a-loof from the rest of the group while they splash in the water as it rolls up the beach and they laugh. And he looks a bit dejected, a bit sad. He is an artist I decide.

After maybe 10 or 15 minutes, this man begins to walk himself to the sea. He opens his hand as he approaches it, and there is a white flower in his palm. And I notice only then, that every one in the group is carrying a white flower. And it's only then too that I notice, that most of them are dressed in black.

Tears fill my eyes as I look-up from my bucket. The people part and let pass the man. The sea comes to greet him, and he continues walking a bit more. Then he stops and he stands there a minute looking out to the horizon. He opens his hand and lets the wind carry the flower from it. And the rest of the people, who are now gathered behind the man in a group, they do the same, open their hands and release their flowers in the wind to the sea.


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