A.J. Walker


September 2022

Time and Tides

Mid Week Flash Challenge: Week 265

Time and Tides

Time goes slowly and it goes quickly too. Standing here in the sea I feel the regular ebb and flow of the tide rolling water up over my feet and occasionally with a bit more frisson of excitement it forces its way half up my shins and I get splashes on my midriff. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place. I like hearing the water sucking its way back past the fallen timbers of once great trees. The sound is comforting and evocative. But at the same time I find it uncomfortable. It’s the opposite of what was. What I’ve lost.

I’ve dreamt of beautiful beaches, of the sea, the smells, the sunsets; nature – and the planet I still call home even though I haven’t been here for years unimaginable. It’s been just an hour and I half regret the very idea of the voyage. The time I have wasted to visit a home that doesn’t exist anymore. There are no people here. The spot I have chosen to stand in was roughly where I lived once upon a forgettable time. It had been miles from the sea but would be a great spot for a coastal resort now: miles of unencumbered beach to the north and the south. If there were people on the planet. If there was a life to be had here.

The ship had fed me days of the drugs required and the knowledge needed to just stand still on a beach which had once been a high street in a mountain town. For what purpose? For me to say a prayer to the people I’d lost and forgotten. Relatives I could never have known. Some may be travellers out there in the dark tracts of space too of course. Would they ever come back to reminisce about things they could never know. It was doubtful. No one would have the inclination or more likely the time or opportunity. It had cost me just a few weeks in journey time from the last job. Maybe that’s why I’d come back to Earth. Because I could – and because nobody else would.

I could see the tide begin to turn, about to start coming in. It was time to say goodbye to no-one; or perhaps to everyone.