Short story: The Wall


Time, I think, for a little more creative writing. Because it’s what I do, or something.

I wasn’t actually planning on writing anything to speak of, but when inspiration strikes, as it sometimes does, I find it does my head good not to ignore it. With that in mind, please enjoy

The Wall

What am I doing?

Really, I should have thought about that before I started, but, well, here we are. And by we I mean me, and by here, I mean clambering over boulders as big as cars, avoiding the slippery moss and the razor sharp shell fragments. At least it’s warm, because doing this in the cold, or the rain? Unthinkably dangerous.

Mind you, I’m not sure that my own thinking patterns are all that well aligned right now.

Got to balance. Really, really don’t want to fall right now. Falling would be bad. Could be worse than bad. Catastrophic, in fact.

I’m such an idiot.

One slip, or one jump between rocks, and I’ll fall, and break something. Primarily me, that is, but out here, a broken leg wouldn’t be simple. Better than a broken neck. Idiot.

Idiot, idiot, idiot.

Why do you do these things?

It seems… further. Further than I’d anticipated when I set out, anyway. That’s often the way, though. Those little jobs that you think will be a simple matter end up being way harder than you thought. This is. That’s a huge gap, and the only thing I can possibly do is jump it. Stupid thing for a man my age.

Stupid thing for a man any age, although I bet I’m not the first to climb along here. Probably the first for this reason, though.

Right, well, time waits for no man. All I have to do is

Jump!

Whew. That was… OK. Sure, my heart is racing, and that hot sun is beating down on my brow. Eyes stinging from the sweat. Take a second. Catch your breath. Let the adrenaline slow down just a bit.

Don’t look down.

Idiot. Why did you look down? It’s dark down there, and wet, and who knows what’s down there anyway? Nothing you want to drop a limb into, that’s for sure.

It looked from below like there was a path, and maybe this would be easy, but no. No path, no way forward but to climb, clamber, jump and not really think too long about what you’re doing. Because nobody in their right mind would be doing what you’re doing, right?

Lost sight of it again. That’s the problem. From below it was obvious and seemed close, but from up here, I lose my absolute perspective on it.

Just a little further. Past those seagulls. Christ. Hope that’s not a seagull nest. Last thing I’d need would be a flock of angry seagulls attacking me. Go away, stupid birds! Can’t you see I’m being stupid enough for all of us?

There it is. Finally. Phew.

All I have to do is work out how to clamber down… ah. At last, a little luck. The rocks slope down from here, so if I move my right leg down just… so… grab the big shelf.. yes… that’ll do it.

Oh. More sharp broken shells. Molluscs, I guess. I should have expected this with all the gulls around. They have to eat something, and the something they eat leaves behind its homes. By the hundreds, from the looks of it. No wonder those seagulls looked fat.

Hundreds of broken shells, then, stuck to the side of the rock just above where the tide flows.

Naturally, I’m barefoot. Because I’m an idiot, you know. Stupid, stubborn idiot.

OK, you’ve come this far. The sweat is pouring, and you’ve put the effort in, so think. Think, man, think!

Alright. If I go over there to the right, and sweep away those smaller shells… yeah, that’ll work. God, they’re really slippery. But not sharp. Sweep. Sweep away, little shells, so I can go in and grab it out of the water where it’s ended up, just over…

Oh, for crying out… the wind’s blowing it away. No!

Not when I’m so very stupidly close!

Right, no time, just have to clamber across and hope against hope that I don’t cut my feet to pieces or slip and break a limb while falling into the sea. Run! It’s nearly at the opening, and if it gets there, there’s no coming back.

Got it.

Man, what a relief.

Stupid thing, it is. As stupid as I am, with its big stupid smiley yellow face.

Then again, the look on her face, when it blew out of her arms and out into the bay.

The look, as she watched it float rapidly towards the sea wall. That’s the kind of look as a parent that you’d do anything to avoid.

Which is why I’m out here clambering along the sea wall after $2 worth of plastic inflatable ball with a stupid smiley face on it. I mean, she’d named it and everything. It’s practically a member of the family now.

Presuming, that is, I can get it back without dropping it.

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