The summer was over and we turned away from the time we’d had to head back from the coast towards our inland lives. Something had changed out there; on the edge of everything, where the land is lost to the sea. We had lost something of that certainty, that feeling of solidity underfoot.
Now we were both lost at sea, cast adrift from each other. There was a feeling that one, or maybe both of us, would drown and we’d never see dry land again.
I had not intended it happen that way, but then we never really do. It is the things that happen by accident, out of the blue, that tend to change things in ways we could never foresee.
We planned a long summer break, just the two of us. A month by the sea, back in a place we’d known a long time ago. In fact, when Angela and I were younger, we spent a week camping at Port South.
Angela often said it was that week together that made us decide to get married. She said that if two people could survive a week’s camping holiday in the UK without wanting to murder each other, then marriage would be a breeze, after that.
She was – mostly – right.
We survived together through all the years we saw friends and family get together, fight and then fall apart, while we just managed to carry on, somehow.
We seemed happy enough.
We even went back to Port South a few times after we married. We never went camping again though. Angela said camping was a thing people should only ever do once in their lives.
Instead, we stayed in the hotel down by the beach, every time we went back. There was no more roughing it, no more rainy nights under the canvas and no more tents blown down by the wind.
This time we were back again almost ten years after our last visit. The hotel was still there. It was under new management now, upgraded and improved since our last stay with now its own swimming pool.
Angela liked to swim in the hotel pool each morning. I got bored of watching her and went for a stroll across the beach.
The beachside cafe was still there too, even after all these years. I smiled at a memory from years before, trying to dry out from the rain of a typical summer in that café. We sat at a table inside with our sodden camping gear all around us. It was then Angela vowed never to set foot inside a tent again.
I was still smiling at that memory as I sat out on the terrace in the warm sun. The waitress came and smiled back at me and it was then – at that moment – I began to drown.