I was going to submit this to a flash fiction contest with the theme “what I did on the holidays”. I missed the deadline, and it can barely be called fiction. So, here it is instead for your reading pleasure…
The Beach. By Megan Riedl
Every summer, because I have children, I convince myself that I love the beach. But I don’t. I love the idea of it. But in reality I find it comparable to one of the seven circles of hell.
The first thing the kids do is refuse to swim. The urge to turn around and drive home is very hard to resist. But you sit yourself in the surf like some kind of bloated beached whale, so that only your butt is wet and you feel like you’ve shat yourself, and they finally go in. They love it so much, it’s the best fun they’ve ever had and it’s truly a joy to watch them jumping the waves and making drippy sandcastles. In that moment, the beach is worth it. Until you realise they are frozen to the bone. Seriously, we’re talking every pore is a goosebump and their lips are a shade of blue you’ve never seen. You wonder how they’re even still conscious.
Eventually they’ve had enough, and they come over and stand on top of you, dripping from the swim nappy that seems designed to catch the water inside it and then dump it all into your lap. And then you will be finding sand everywhere for at least two weeks. Inside the baby’s nappies; in the car; in everyone’s shoes (even the ones we weren’t wearing); inside your wallet; down your bra; inside the baby’s mouth and then, inevitably, inside the nappy again at a later point.
But at least you have something to tell people when they ask what you did on your holiday.
I went to the beach.
Like normal people for a whole week? In a gorgeous little rental?
No. For a single afternoon. There and back. That’s all I can take