I am standing on a wall. I am young. I can see the sea, not far away, and I can hear the waves. I can see the water rolling in, and see the sun shine on it. Standing on a wall, high up. There is sand below. Brown, flat, wet sand.
But I can't jump. I just look at the height between the wall and the sand. What if I fell over? What if I fell backwards? If I fell, I would roll in the sand, and the sand would cover my clothes. I could hurt myself. I can't jump. I can't jump. Something is stopping me, and I can't jump. The sand seems so far away from me, on top of the wall.
It's a hot day. I can smell the pavement melting in the sun. I can hear the screams of the other children, playing in the sand, the sand that's so far away. There are other people, walking past, walking along the sand, playing in the water. But I am stuck on the wall, above the sand, waiting to jump, wanting to jump, but I can't jump.
So many years ago, but I can tell you everything about it. I can tell you everything about how the sand looked, what the sky looked like. If I looked around to my right I could see a road, and some brightly coloured beach huts, then a block of toilets that smelled of soap and had those yellow blocks in the urinals, then there was a weighing machine, and a lottery ticket booth, then the pier, and some gardens, where later, at night, people put candles into coloured glass jars to make the shapes of starbursts and boats. I can tell you what it felt like and what I looked like, and how the sun felt against my pale pink skin. I can feel the heat radiating out of the pavement and the bricks, and how the stones looked on the wall.
I am looking at the sand. The sand that seems so far away. Look at the sand, to the sky, to the sea, to my feet. My feet so far away, won't move, won't get closer. I can't jump. I won't jump. I can only nearly jump, and then I back away. But I can't get down there otherwise. I can't get down there if I don't jump, and I want to jump, but I'm afraid.
And then, no-one tells me to jump.
So I jump. And I hit the warm, wet sand, feet first. The jolt shakes all of my bones, but I don't fall over, I just bend down, and get back up again. I look back at the wall. The wall, so far away, so close. I run along the sand.
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