A day at the Beach

She felt the rhythm of the ocean as it crashed upon itself and reached for the rough, shell-strewn shore, like a sonnet. The seagulls squawked overhead, diving for abandoned chips, the clear blue sky a shimmering backdrop. She tilted her head way back to watch them fly, fascinated by the freedom they possessed.

People milled about in bathing suits, holding hands, smiling and savouring the texture of the rough sand between their toes.

She observed the footprints left by the teenagers, and swiftly removed her own shoes, determined to summon the feeling of youth – the abandonment of pain. Her lids heavy with years of suffering, her lashes thick with mascara, she grinned. She had just spotted the ice cream truck. When the music began, she was a child again. The simple tune of the truck’s jingle seemed to invite her to dance. It was a merry, swirling refrain that made her feel light and precious. She felt the breeze caress her honey blonde curls that were tied back with white silk ribbons. Mother always put her hair up in ribbons.

She danced towards the pale green and pink truck, admiring the smiling faces of the crudely painted ice creams and cartoon animals that decorated its façade.

‘Give me two gigantic scoops of ice cream please! Chocolate for one and Mint for the other!’
She grasped at the cone, almost crushing it with anticipation. She licked feverishly, feeling a rush from the simple movement of her white cotton dress, blowing freely in the summer wind.

She began to dance again, conjuring up every feeling of hope, joy and innocence that had ever sparkled in her life. The glory, enveloped in porcelain-faced dolls, flouncing petticoats and songs sung, accompanied by a piano…. The glory was hers, like never before.

The people stopped what they were doing to come and watch her. Wireless radios were deserted, Frisbees tossed and not retrieved. Even dogs ceased sniffing to come and witness her dance. Everyone had always been drawn to her beauty, her alluring grace – the blonde curls that rose and fell like spun silk. Her voice, so captivating, and the emotion it evoked in the people that loved her on sight.

Her smile expanded, a welcome to her admirers, an invitation to stay – a taut, blood red mouth. Her eyes glistened, the crows feet enhanced by an eerie possession. Her hands grasped at the air, capturing the breeze, gnarled and wrinkled. Feet scooped at the sand, embracing its texture, the bunions covered by the light granules.

She saw and felt the girl inside, a blissfully carefree spirit, a talented sprite. She drank in their attention and danced more to earn the love. She was the princess, the dazzling muse, the fairy who granted wishes, with a wave of her wand. She was joy.

They saw the old crone; the witch in the dungeon, the wicked stepmother; the crazed reaper.

The police arrived and seized her. The murderer had finally been captured.

Jessie sat in her cell, and held tightly to the bars, singing that ice cream tune, picturing those faces, thirsty for her grace. She felt the cool of the metal against her face and lost herself in the texture and the vibration. It was like a xylophone. She felt the rhythm of the ocean as it crashed upon itself and reached for the rough, shell-strewn shore, like a sonnet.

Jessie was a star, and she would always dance.

A day at the Beach

Michelle Rogers

Joined April 2007

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Artist's Description

I’m a fan of ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane’

Artwork Comments

  • deliriousgirl
  • Dave Legere
  • Ushna Sardar
  • ytsumner
  • Michelle Rogers
  • Barssel
  • Lehane
  • highbeam
  • Jim Caldwell
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  • LeonD
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