The girl sat on the beach and gazed out at the horizon, a long blue line stretching from left to right, fading away as it passed the limits of the human eye. In the foreground a few fishing trawlers slowly plied the waters, their nets like giant wings stretched out to either side just like a giant ungainly bird. The waves broke where the water met the sand, sand so fine it looked and felt like sugar, “sugar sand” the locals called it. Up and down the beach people were scattered in small groups, each group trying to maintain their distance from the next, causing new arrivals to hike progressively further to stake out their own plot of sand with enough buffer from the adjacent group. This wasn’t the kind of beach where people went to lay side by side like hot dogs on a grill. The beach was vast, and outside of the highly trafficked areas a few miles up the coast. When the tide was out, the beach seemed as wide as it was long, that is to say – limitless.
The sun baked down on the sand, on the beach, on the waves, on the girl. About 10 yards away from the girl, a small crab popped its head out of a hole it had dug in the sand. It looked warily around, searching for the least sign of danger at which it would dive back down and reappear 5 minutes later only to repeat the cycle once again. The girl didn’t notice the crab, she was now flat on her back with her eyes closed. Next to her was a beach bag with a half empty bottle of water protruding from the top. The bottle was covered in condensation and the label on the bottle had started to peel away as a result. A slight breeze stirred the top of the beach bag, the girl didn’t move. The crab poked it’s head up for the 5th time, the girl didn’t move. Somewhere in the distance a dog barked, the girl twitched her toe.
A quarter mile down the beach, two surfers sat straddling their boards in deep water, waiting for the next set. Their feet lazily hanging beneath the water, like tempting morsels for a passing shark. They had been surfing for the past hour, and the current was taking them steadily down the beach until they could barely see the pile of clothes they had left on the beach. They talked about surfing and about the beach and about their mutual friend Brian. Realizing they were thirsty, they paddled back towards shore, half-heartedly attempting to catch some small waves on their way in. Hitting the beach they put their boards under their arms and started walking towards the pile of clothes they had left, the leashes on their boards trailing behind them. As they drew nearer, they could see the girl laying on the beach next to their clothes, almost on top of their clothes. The two girls sped up, their boards banging against their legs as they went. Approaching the other girl, the two surfers hailed her with a greeting to which she slowly raised her head. “Those are our clothes” one of the surfers said. The other girl looked at them for a moment, “Oops” she said, “I thought the owners had drowned”, and with that she lay back and closed her eyes. The two surfers looked at one another, then at the other girl, but the other girl didn’t see them because her eyes were closed. The two surfers grabbed their things and hurriedly pulled them on, and tried to put as much distance between themselves and the other girl as possible. The other girl didn’t move. The crab poked it’s head up for the 10th time.