Posted by: smithdavid | March 17, 2013

Just Like This

It’s flat and vast and it stretches out, like a gray wasteland, as far as I can see.  It’s only when I watch closely that I can see the ripples on the surface. There is a marked loneliness about this place: there is no beige sand band to separate land from sea, no houses mark the end of one element and the beginning of another. I look at the road once more, as I must, and then back to the Irish Sea. It is sullen and no boat drifts on it and no gull flies over it. To be out in the middle of it would be like arriving in the endless space of eternity. Perhaps if there was a wave it would act as some kind of call back to land. But there is nothing.

Bangor is behind me now and I look up and the road rolls down and up again, down and up. Moving along it is almost like sitting out back on a board. The hills are brightened by the sun and they are perhaps greener than the green hills of Ireland. My foot seems to press harder on the accelerator, the diesel engine urges the van to move even quicker along the tarmac. I try and imagine what Rhosneigr (North Wales) will be like. I see a house down a narrow country lane and a ten minute drive to the sea.

rhosneigr village

rhosneigr village

I know I’m getting close when the radio picks 98FM and 2FM, Irish radio stations. I take one of the last turnoffs before Holyhead and then one more branch a few miles on. At last the road edges become dense with houses and there is a newsagent here and there. The house Phil & Loraine rented is just off the main road. I park and Phil brings me straight to the beach (it’s a two minute walk, not a ten minute drive). Loraine is farther up the beach, her two dogs pull at their leashes.

The sun is gone but still there is enough light and heat. I look at the lake-like water and look at Phil.

‘I told you it was more windsurfing than surfing,’ he says, smiling. I lick my finger and hold it up to feel for a wind and then look at Phil quizzically.

He laughs. ‘Maybe tomorrow will be a day for supping (stand up paddle boarding),’ he says.

‘Okay, just please don’t tell anyone…’ I say. ‘And no photos of me on a SUP!’

flat sea at rhisneigr

flat sea at rhisneigr

When we’re inside we talk about our student days in Jo’burg and how Colin Fowler always said horseradish instead of sh*t and how old Andrew Breckenridge was because he was thirty and we were twenty. And we talk of me copying Phil’s tutorial work and the lecturer giving Phil a warning for copying me.

It’s warm inside the house and that sense of infinity that I felt before has been compressed into a series of moments from Jo’burg and this moment right now. And things are great just like this.


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