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I hate the sea; I hate the way the water harmlessly encircles and attacks your ankles, the way the waves roar as they crash and throw themselves at the shore, and then steal parts of it as they creep and crackly back to the sea. I hate it when you’re standing in their way and as they roll back, they silently trickle sand over your feet; when you’ve lost yourself in the sound of nature swirling and crashing and you don’t realize until it’s too late. When your foot is stuck under the deme sand, that feeling of vulnerability, even though you know that you can easily unlock your foot and walk away, but sometimes you can’t, you can’t help her, you can’t change what you did.

It seems rather oneiric now, and although I’ve tried to forget, the memory still comes bleeding back. Mother thought it would be nice – she never got to spend much time with ‘her girls’ as she called us. I thought it would be nice. I’d never been to the seaside before, yet now I never want to go back.

We took the train to Brighton. I can’t remember ever having smiled as much as I did when the train rolled into the station. The excitement that was radiating off my face must’ve been contagious because all three of us were beaming. The corners of our lips grew further apart as the train chugged away, leaving smoky clouds behind it.

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The journey went on slowly, but when we arrived, I remember stumbling down to the beach, tripping over myself as I danced down the past. I remember her launching herself into the icy English Channel and me following her whilst ignoring the pain of the shells and pebbles piercing my feet. She threw herself on the sand, her hands behind her supporting her, and her legs extending into the pool of waves. I sat next to her and we gazed in admiration at the aquamarine water. The diffused reflection of sunlight sparkled and twinkled magically as it shattered into thousands of shards of golden rays. Our feet sliced the cerulean waves, and they pierced through our toes. My jaw hurt from smiling, but I was happy. I wanted to freeze time and keep this moment forever. Until she told me to cover her legs in sand.

I thought it would be fun, after all, it was only sand, I guess she wanted to feel a part of it – connected to the beauty of the tranquil ripples on the water. So, I did what she said. I brought out armfuls of sand and let it crumble onto her legs, grain by grain. It didn’t take long for her lower body to be fully immersed in the terracotta sand. She laughed, I laughed. We sat for what felt like hours, the sun radiating our backs, and the gentle breeze blowing it away. Perhaps it was hours. The gloaming began to emerge from the horizon and started to battle the daylight. Mother called us and waved us over to her. I reluctantly dragged myself across the beach to her.

I’ll never forget the scream; the shriek flooded me with fear and anxiety. The tide had buried her deeper and deeper into the sand, pushing her down and pulling her in with every malicious glide. She couldn’t move. I couldn’t help her. I fought against the natural force, but the water – the water which had seemed so fragile, yet now was a ruthless force – clutched and held onto her. Her screams pierced my dreams – they pierce them now – and I know they’ll follow me for a long time to come.

The thing I once loved, I now despised. I hate the way the water harmlessly encircled our ankles. I hate the feeling of it rolling through our toes, the way it captures you with the swirling and crashing, and the way it steals you… never freeing you.

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