The International Writers Magazine: The Visitor
|On the occasion of Carol visiting from London
She'd promised to visit for about a year. We used to see each other every weekend but since I'd dropped off the 'face of the earth' it had taken eleven months for her to find the courage to go 'North' of London and actually find Kings Cross. She'd brought luggage, even though it was just a one nighter. Coats, sweaters, hats, boots, clothing suitable for the North Pole. I live four hours from London but I guess it must seem like a continent away to someone used to London.
||Carol used to be a reader for a literary agency and a PA for a leading agent. She was now out on her own starting her agency specialising in 'crime fiction'. This was the first time she had ever gone north of Hampstead and she was genuinely scared. I made sure my clogs were clean and requested that the peasants dry clean their smocks so as not to offend her eyes or so sensitive nose.
‘Why do you live here again?’ She asked. ‘Aside from having to care after your mother.’
‘Because no one else in the family will put up with her.'
‘But here? Why here in this godforsaken wilderness? It’s 200 bloody miles from London and you can’t possibly get any visitors.’
‘Have you seen the prices in London? I couldn’t afford a window box let along a flat.’
‘But you had a nice house. It’s probably gone up fifty thousand since you left.’
‘No one would visit because it also had a commode filled with body fluids most of the day. It had a neighbour from hell. Every car I had got slashed.’
‘But it was close to London.’
I sigh. Can’t deny that. It was closer to London by 155 miles damnit.
‘We have good skies here.’ I explained.
‘Good skies?’ She looked at me as if I was mad. 'What use are good skies?'
‘I live by the beach and everyday I go for a walk and I have a different sky. There’s no commode; she has her own bathroom. My neighbour is a millionaire and doesn’t keep his old fridges on the front lawn or scream abuse at anyone or lie dead drunk on the road. People are polite and the skies are amazing.'
‘I need a drink. They do have wine up north I hope.’
|I was preparing a salad and went out to get some tomatoes, mint and pick a cucumber. She looked at the fresh garden produce with alarm as I washed it.
'You grow your own food now?'
'It's organic. Nothing sprayed on it except fox pee perhaps.'
She looked suitably horrified. It didn't come from Waitrose, she was scared to eat it, I could tell.
‘A little. Come on I’ll take you to Willys. They brew their own beer and serve a half way decent Shiraz.’
‘Willys?’ She looked worried.
‘It’s a bar by the beach. Don’t panic, the natives don’t bite. Well not this early anyway. Later maybe, but I have a pitchfork ready in case and wear garlic around my neck.’
She reluctantly joined me. Didn’t once look at the sky and was pretty dismissive of the bar we were heading to. ‘Seriously it’s called Willys? It’s pick up joint?’ She seemed very concerned - worried her shoes were wrong for the bar. I assured her that the men I know don't look at shoes.
‘It’s just a bar. We already passed several. Get used to it. People come to the seaside to drink.’
‘That I can understand. Where is the sea?’ She stared out to sea, puzzled.
‘It goes out about four miles.’
‘Goes out where?’
‘It’s tidal. I don’t know where it goes, but it disappears. It’s magic.’
She looked at me dubiously. But you couldn’t hide the fact that there was a beach but no sea.
‘I can’t believe you moved here. It’s like you killed yourself. You ruined your career y'know.'
‘Yes it seems so. And here you find me alive and careerless as predicted.’
We filed past the smokers and dogs sitting outside and entered a noisy bar. It was mostly full of men. Suddenly she was interested. Looking around the 80's industrial decor with rising hope. ‘It’s not a gay bar then,’ she said studying the men's clothes with expert eyes. ‘I’d expected a gay bar, it being called Willys.’
‘All these men are straight, Carol. Take your pick.’ I joked.
They were all staring. Carol was slim and very attractive. The women they all dated or had married would be three times the size and still growing. I could sense her preening herself. She had entered the candy bar.
||Needless to say I went home alone. She ran off with a fisherman. Perhaps it was the Porsche he was driving. Who knows? Wondered if I’d ever see her again.
I walked home under the night sky. Took this photo to add to the collection.
This October I'll be in Canada. See you there perhaps.
© Sam Hawksmoor October 2013 All images taken with my iPhone. All Skies As Found
Find Sam here
More life moments