(A semi-true story. The feelings are real.)
I feel the pull back to familiarity. There is a soft, furry body lying alongside me. Early risers; those getting children to school or off early to miss the worst of the traffic slam car doors or call loudly from the street to someone still inside.
I keep my eyes closed, not ready to let go of the feelings of my dream even though the images are still to coalesce in my mind. Loss. Longing.
I dreamed of a beach.
I was on my way home, walking through familiar streets, totally confident that I knew the way. I greeted passers-by and smiled and waved. And then I took a different path between two pale and old buildings, following a kitten who had looked at me with recognition on its dirty ginger face.
Then I was staring at a beach.
I remember thinking in my dream that my street had been close to the sea, right up until a hundred years ago. Woodstock Beach had been filled with swimmers, fishermen and strollers. I remember seeing black and white photos suspended on metal wires in a trendy, retro craft gin store. And I remembered this in my dream. I remembered that I drive on Beach Road.
In my dream this was Woodstock Beach. Accessible only to me. I alone knew that it was right there, a few metres from home. Nobody in today’s world would ever find it. It was safe. Our secret.
Between the grey, crumbling dolosse birds had made nests. A white whale skeleton formed a ghost wedding arch in the sand. Gentle, pretty seaweed and crusty mussels grew in a rockpool. Another was filled with giant purple and ruby red gem stones. I looked down at my feet making soft dunes where I walked. At the water’s edge I turned around to look back. The city was a smouldering, crumbling urban monster. It was exploding in a disorganisation of more building, more development, more greed.
I saw an old woman wave at me from under the frame of a beach umbrella. She looked like she had always been there although I had only noticed her in that moment.
I wanted to stay. I started taking my clothes off to get into the water but up close the surface was densely packed with completely transparent plastic bottles.
“You can walk on it, but you can’t swim” yelled the woman. Now she was surrounded by crime tape, held by four estate agent boards. She stood up and I saw her police uniform.
I thought about leaving and my heart shuddered. If I left I would never find this secret Woodstock beach again. I started scooping the sand in my hand, the damp sand. Could I build a house here? There was nothing to make it with. A hole. I would dig a hole.