The One

A little girl picks up a pebble from the shore. The sea rides closer. Seagulls gather overhead as the little girl inspects the pebble in her salt-ridden hand. On finding a crevice of imperfection, the little girl tosses the pebble over her shoulder and continues her search. The sea respectfully turns away. The seagulls descend towards the shore, their savage shrieks pillorising the pebble. As the pebble rolls across the other discarded pebbles, a tiny wave of consoling applause is omitted until the pebble stops, seeking comfort next to a slice of seaweed whose tentacles embrace an old sweet wrapper.

A woman sits in a restaurant waiting for her date to return from the gentlemen’s toilet. Flushed with excitement, she steals a moment to imagine their first kiss, their first night together, their wedding day. As she does so, she twists a soft auburn curl around her index finger, crosses her legs and caresses the table leg with the high heeled shoe that balances at the end of her right foot.

In the gentlemen’s toilet a window is ajar. It lazily looks out onto the alley below, listening to the sound of quickened footsteps that a moment ago hurdled over its sills. The footsteps disappear into the surrounding street.

A clatter of high heeled shoes. Knuckles wrap on the gentlemen’s toilet door. Silence. The shoes clatter into the ladies’ toilet next door. Moments later, a sob filters through into the tiled chamber of the gentlemen’s toilet. The window continues to look out onto the alley below. Next door a toilet flushes, a tap hisses and a nose is blown. A deep breath is taken, the ladies’ toilet door opens and the war cry of high heeled shoes clicking down the tiled corridor evaporates into the restaurant’s soundtrack.

The ladies’ toilet falls silent. The gentlemen’s toilet basks in this new found peace. Outside in the alley the moonlight finds solace in an old sweet wrapper being idly blown about the alley’s cobbles by the huff of the evening’s mood.

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Reference:
Niarbyl Beach, Isle of Man
Restaurant, Covent Garden, London
Photo by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash

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