It Will End up in the Sea
They came out of the sea on Christmas eve. There had been a long period of bad weather, the cliffs were coming down faster than usual and a couple of days previously someone’s dog had been crushed by the falling, sodden earth. The wind, as well, had whipped the sea high up the beach dragging with it previously unseen things, mineral vegetable and animal, from the underbelly of the sea.
I found the first shark egg high up on Chesil beach where the pebbles meet the marsh. It was tiny and perfect, and I held it in my cold pink hand for a moment before wrapping it in a tissue and putting it in my pocket. Over the next few days they revealed themselves amongst the shifting shingle and I collected them carefully. At home I put them all in a jar of salted water and stored them in the downstairs toilet where the coats were kept.
When I was fifteen I spent the summer in the Hungarian countryside at a wasp infested cottage. Me and a boy of my own age, a son of a friend of my father’s, played table tennis and darts like children, but in the first flushes of adolescent infatuation I took to installing myself, available and prostrate, in the garden during the day. I slept in the sun and burnt.
One evening he hadn’t returned home and a thunderstorm was breaking. The unbearable warmth made me sweat and my stomach turned as I waited for him to come home. He arrived, finally, bursting through the side door in only his boxers. He didn’t want to get his clothes wet, he said, waving a plastic bag in front of his face. They were wet anyway but I didn’t mention it. We went together into the hot downpour, and I let my dress soak until it was another skin. Warm tarmac and rain between our toes as we walked to the field where we had heard the nightingales sing the night before. It was dark but the rain was coming down in sheets and it would have rendered our vision useless anyway. A passing car momentarily illuminated the profile of his face. We seemed to occupy our own space in the middle of the deluge, completely alone, and it was that shy realisation that made us agree to go back. That night in bed I had a stomach ache so bad that I knew I must be irrevocably and irreparably in love with him. Five years later we would fuck unceremoniously in my downstairs toilet, where the coats were kept.
What are those? He asked straight after he came.
Where did you find them?
On the beach.
What are you going to do with them?
I don’t know yet.
He extracted himself from me and his knees clicked as he staggered over to the toilet. The condom snapped and the toilet flushed.
Why did you flush it? I said. It will end up in the sea.
See installation 'Being is Distributed into Myriad Objects'