adamram CW CW1
Here is the scene: it is a house near the ocean. It is their summer house. She goes there with her mother and father. On the train, it rains. The rain drops are like tears on the glass. The child presses her face against it. But she can’t see anything, only the streaks of water.
Every summer they leave the city and go to the house, by train.
Summer has its own taste. Tea. A boiled egg, marmalade and slices of toast. The taste of scorched bread, blackened, dusty crumbs on white plates. Her tea, opaque with milk and sugar, turns cold in the mug. She wipes the sticky fingers on her dress. No one sees it.
She walks outside. Pale sunlight filters through the clouds. In her white cotton dress she runs along the path towards the beach. The sandals make a sound, like a slap. The beach is empty, quiet. She kneels in the sand, digging her hands into it. Whatever she makes, the sea will erase. She writes her name and watches it disappear. She finds this beautiful; the disappearance, the emptiness. The rhythm of the waves. It never stops, it just goes on and on forever. It is like the rhythm of a machine, the movement of a train across the rails, this rhythm that will never miss a beat. She writes her name with small stones. Some of the pebbles are washed away almost instantly. But it does not matter to her. She has no wish to leave a trace. She removes the remaining stones and puts them in the front pocket of her dress.
The child returns to the house. Her dress has dirt on it, her hands, her feet, dirty. When the mother sees the dirt she is angry. She takes the stones out of the child’s pocket and throws them away. They are only pebbles, her mother says. The child wants to explain about the beauty, the loneliness, the ocean. But she is powerless to do so.
They eat dinner in silence. In the afternoon, they play cards. Then the child is put to bed.
She wakes up. The voices are loud. Angry. The shrill cries of seagulls, birds with snapping beaks.
The child hears them clearly. She closes her ears, small and white like seashells, with her hands. Words become vibrations, low and meaningless like the sound of waves. The ocean. Music. A struggle which has no beginning and no end. The child closes her eyes. Her hands are like white doves stuck to her head.
They smother her with their love, these strangers, with the white cotton, the marmalade, the sweaty hands. In the morning, it rains. The salty smell of the sea fills the house. She runs outside. The wind catches her dress, lifts it like a sail. A white flapping cloth, a child, a world that keeps moving, running feet, a slap.
There is a silence between words, a taste like blood, sea water or sweat. A childhood is the story of silence. Looking back, there is nothing to tell. Only this music, which comes from inside, somewhere.
A stranger wrote it and it belongs to no one.