The Beach Diaries 2012 – #26
* A twenty stone, middle-aged woman in a red Baywatch swimsuit stands living monument to the cruelty of time on all our youthful crushes.
* Public displays of affection are pitiful at the best of times, but there’s something weirdly hypnotic about the sight of a man in his late sixties nuzzling kisses from a Thai woman forty years his junior. Their walk is a clumsy struggle, wrapped tightly inside each others arms and facing inwards instead of where they’re walking, as though their survival is dependant on the nourishment gleaned from each other’s juices. I think back to Old Rog from 2011, and wonder if they’re still together.
* A mother talks to her child in sign language. With my eyes forever on that Hollywood prize, an idea for a film begins to form. How’s this: A lonely deaf woman and a damaged loner… wait, this needs fleshing out. Okay, she’s a lifeguard. A lonely, beautiful lifeguard, with the most amazing body. And she works on Littleha… just some random beach somewhere. One day, the lonely deaf lifeguard and the damaged man (who’s a writer) see each other, and BOOM, love at first sight. Both have spent their lives on the outside looking in, and daren’t even dream of meeting someone who likes the same exotic, worldly things they do; the favourite books, the favourite films, the favourite music… okay, not music. She’s deaf. To be specific, her ears popped one day when she was rescuing a drowning child. But anyway, all the movies, books, and everything else, they’re totally in sync. It’s love, baby, and in this moment, it all falls into place.
But he’s self conscious about his wonky teeth, and she ‘hears’ by reading lips, so when the beautiful, deaf lifeguard attempts to introduce herself, he just shakes his head like a weirdo and refuses to answer. Consequently, they both die alone. The end.
* A man of about twenty comes thundering past me, with angry, purposeful stomps, absolutely livid. His cheek bears a freshly planted, bright red lipstick kiss.
* Inside the shelter, where the long bench curls up and around to ceiling height above a ‘no climbing’ sign, a trio of eleven-year-old boys lounge on the slats. Three BMX bikes lay in a pile below, like the clubhouse porch of a violent biker gang. From their position above the passing crowds, one of the boys freestyles a rap.
“I shake my willy”
“I shake my willy”
“I’m a black man — I got a massive willy.”
* A passing man with a slow, dull voice talks at his wife.
“…the whole point is, there are people on the lower rungs of society…” He hasn’t noticed that she’s put her fingers in her ears; literally just the index fingers; elbows at 90 degrees like in a comic. After a moment, she pulls them out just long enough to say –
“Let’s talk about something else.” Her voice is laced with but the faintest wisp of hope.
“Well, the thing is,” he replies, and before another word crawls out of his mouth, she’s put her fingers back in, “you talked for half an hour before about something very boring…” I watch them walk off into the distance. Him, mouth flapping in a constant drone, hands slowly gesticulating, and her, half a pace behind, fingers in the ears, and gazing out across at the ocean with an incredible aura of solitude, lost inside the familiar, private place she’s made for herself yet again.
* A man in his forties, who’d be best described as ‘grizzled’ — pockmarked face, tatty jumper, a beard that’s more laziness than fashion — hobbles along with a strange, crooked posture. He’s weighed down on one side by a heavy shopping bag that stretches at the handles, and he self-consciously turns his head away when he gets close to anybody, like the Elephant Man. With a guttural barking sound and twitch of the jaw, it’s clear that he has Tourettes, or something similar. As we pass each other, his head jerks from over his shoulder and towards me, looking me right in the eye for a half-second, as he blows me a kiss. Before I’ve even time to catch it, he’s turned back away, and shuffles madly towards the safety of home.
“That doesn’t count,” I think. “That wasn’t my first.”
In an unwritten movie — or a life, I forget which — a damaged loner hangs himself with the power cable from an Xbox 360, while a beautiful woman stands deaf to the passing sirens.
The complete collection (plus appendices) of 2011’s Beach Diaries are available to buy for the Amazon Kindle for £1.99/$2.99. If you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon have a free Kindle app for PC/Mac/phones/tablets, available right here.