Tell A Tale in 500 Words

You, Me, and the Sea By Steven Hardy

A person I love stands at the precipice of a cliff. He does not know I love him, nor that I am here tucked behind this chalky rock, peering between tufts of thrift at him. He wears a mustard yellow cardigan over his floral blouse, little petals dance along the hem of his skirt, propelled by the kisses of the wind. His legs resemble something like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, in those red, white, and green stockings he picked up from the charity shop on a blustery Sunday afternoon in Whitfield town centre. And just to confirm, beyond all reasonable doubt, that nothing in his wardrobe matched, he wore blue Pokka dot Doc Martins on his feet.

The last time I heard, his name was Lindsey, after he previously dispelled the names Irene, Jessica, and Cynthia as not quite befitting of his character. The sky was overcast yet oddly optimistic, as the south easterly wind summoned the ends of his electric pink hair into a Viennese waltz. The scene was serene. The taste of salt pressed against my lips and my nose tingled with the aromas of the local flora, and yet for all of nature’s beauty I couldn’t help but wonder, what was going on in his mind?

I awoke this morning convinced of what I needed to do. I stood naked before my mirror and ran my fingers long my ribs like child would run a mallet along a xylophone. I looked into the silver glass and saw someone else. Not me, that can’t be me, it’s just not me. Mum had told me time and time again that I was wrong, and Dad doesn’t even speak to me about it anymore. I don’t have any friends at school because neither the boys, nor girls, seem to want me in their friendship circles. So, I spend most of my time wrestling the shadowy demons in my mind, one minute I’d pin them down but the next they’d have me in a chokehold.

As I stand looking out at the sea, I don’t see waves, but rather people. They are looking at me, waiting for me to say something, to do something, to show them how I really feel, and who I really am. Seconds trickle by like syrup. My conviction takes hold.

Lindsey’s knees are touching, her hip is cocked, and her painted nails are shaking. What do you want from me, she calls out to the white horses. Why can’t you leave me alone, but they keep on closing in. Her voice is hysterical and I knew I should’ve reacted, but I was rooted to the spot, mesmerised by her transformation. The delirium climaxed and calm silence ensued. I don’t know anymore, she said, and tumbled forward. I recall the image of her falling – flying – the final glimpse of her floral blouse disappearing beyond the cliff’s edge, and I remember thinking that I should have done something sooner. So much sooner.

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