High Tide

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Worthing, UK

I wrote this in response to a spontaneous trip to the coast one weekend. I was particularly struck by the power of weather and water.

We'd arranged to meet on the seafront at Worthing. Short sharp showers doused the car as I drove south, raindrops colliding with the windscreen.
I parked in a suburban street in glorious sunshine. Salt dusted my lips as I hurried past quiet houses with paved fronts. The warm weather promised a pretty scene of waves gently lapping the sandy shore, but the image crumbled as I reached the seafront. Wind rushed along the promenade, whistling between the beach huts and tousling my hair. It was high tide and the sea felt close. I stood on the pebble beach as the waves roared with metronomic regularity; the opening and closing of a hundred lions' jaws. At my feet, a clump of sea kale was valiantly flying the flag for flora amongst the pebbles and concrete. I scanned the promenade, peeling back hair from my face. I wasn't late, anyway. My gaze turned again to the sea, but I didn't dare approach and let the waves caress my hand, as tradition dictates. I loved the strength, the curve, the sound of each roll of water but I felt fearful, too, as if the waves might turn to molten lava and race over the pebbles towards me. I strained my eyes to the horizon and made out a ship, faint and distant. I thought of tiny boats, up the channel, battered and flung about by these waves.
'Hi!' A familiar voice came through the watery wind. 'Glad I've found you.'
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Near Worthing, UK

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