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Brontide

Sea salt sprayed the knees, the knuckles, of silent citizens; the speargrass and pennywort, waltzing with the ever wanton wind, permeated by salt saturated air, sprinkled itself with love upon the crevices of every nook – of every plant and every person. Brontide. Where the sky rolled past in mirror of its beloved sea. Relentless and eternal, the waves beat at the beach, the dough that never toughened. The ocean wind, an infinite rolling pin, set upon the water below – green-blue, green-grey, like the colour of the piers and the lanterns that sung from the bay.

 

Brontide. Of peace and cobblestone streets, leading back to the sand like all streams lead to the ocean. Brontide, for love and peace.  In solidarity:

 

It paused.

And the tiny humans, breathing the air, distaining its roughness and scurrying, slicing, surrendering to it, scampered along the pier – the pier of ferryboats to the mainland, of cawing gulls, of scattered, salty chips, golden and yellow, across the stone path; the trodden cobble that had painted gather ye rosebuds so crookedly upon it. It all smelled like the ocean to the small boy named D’andre, who had dived from his father’s grasp, scurried through the crowd, and clambered up the railing – eyes staring over the beach, and the waves, and the sky, awestruck in its majesty. And he thought, though his lineage subtly manifested the ideals of Atheism, hidden in between his parents’ doubts and words, that there must be a God above to create such fine grains of sand and They must, must, have taken a long time to craft it all.

 

Unnoticed went the boy, in the wind and the crowd, who brushed past Mehria, straightening her silks in the smattering of salt that blew the newspaper, still burning, mid-air, with the silent bigotry of unspoken ignorance sparkling in between words stamped and smeared upon the sodden page. Placed there by people who did not look like her, who ignored the bomb in her home town, the bodies strewn so cacophonously, juxtaposed to the silhouette of the young boy against the sky … it was a beautiful sky.

 

She stopped, though shivering, staring out at the bay, wrapping long fingers around her arms, hugging herself, humming the tune that echoed in the air – but interrupted – barged passed by a large man named David – though, of course, she knew not his name, only his gate, and the colour of his skin – as he did not see her, refused to see her, probably saw her but ignored her anyway, and ran towards the railing, excused, blown by the wind itself. Dropped his plastic cup of sugars and carbonate, the synthetic substance falling past his stained polo, his rolled trousers, his old flip-flops and splattered, staining the floor below, the bubbles streaming down, down the cobblestone.

 

Lapped up, almost, by a dachshund named Barnaby, held back by the aged woman – for that was all that the masses saw when they saw her: frail, invisible, old woman. Not the name on her driver’s licence, nor the fire in her sixty-seven-year-old soul. Marieke. Tulips bloomed behind her wrinkled, ancient eyelids as she, too, watched the sun, setting somehow against the blue in a way she was not used to. Brontide. Of beauty and peace, she paused, in solidarity, as the others did, wondering if she regretted divorcing Eduardo. Wondering if the sky was always that beautiful. Wondering if there was still time … to murder and create. The sky – it rolled like the waves, and rays and rays drew down on her, clothed her, smiled at her, and told her: it is better to walk the streets of Brontide in solidarity and peace than to tiptoe to alley ways of marriage, meeker and lonelier than the inmate thrust into the darkened cell, forever … the inmate, whose key bounces down, down the drain, never ever to return again.

 

And the inmate, though hidden were his tattoos, and the scars of long healed but hardly forgotten injuries, of hellish happenings and horrific memories, by a jacket thrifted from the store behind the fish and chip shop, owned by the woman with the dachshund. He, too, stood next to the railing, mesmerised by the golden hour, of rolling dough that was the ocean below, green-blue, green-grey, like a child’s painting – that one shade of acrylic turquoise he could remember so vividly – so melancholically.

 

The same colour Xiaolia had painted that morning, with the stained brush and shedding bristles, spilling the pigment on her striped sleave, her favourite sleave; hid it from her mother on the way to kindergarten; ate slices of pair that would have matched it if only their colour were a shade closer to blue, or if it were a shade closer to green. She too, climbed the railing, but held her hands high above her head, giggling, mid-flight, a seagull, like the thousands soaring, surrounding her, engulfing her, in the bustle of the day, the bustle of the dusk, of Brontide.

 

And then time begun once more.

 

And the benevolent bliss shattered, and Brontide returned to itself – of lonely streets, of mouldy piers, of silent citizens, walking, bustling about, not meeting each other in the eye. The children returned from the railing. The newspaper caught on the lamp-post. The seagulls resumed the rubbish bins of food, flowing and spilling onto the floor from decades of greediness and affluence.

 

But the few who did not speak, dachshund in hand, silks restored upon the head, tattoos covered by the sleaves, walked through the bustle: a hint of gold bloomed in their eyes, the back corner, glistening, a reflection of some greater sunshine, of Brontide, as it should be. Of beauty and peace. In solidarity. Of winding cobblestone streets, leading back to the sand like all streams lead to the ocean.

 

This piece of writing was created in the Winter of 2016.

 

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