Photography © Chad Parenteau

 

the seaside

The father watches on from the deckchair
As his daughter treads cautiously
On the cusp of the waves.
She dances around the bubbles so purely
And befriends the sand as if nothing
Has ever been this good before.
It feels like generations pass before the cool
Of the water and the tips of the breeze
Turn to a bitter cold.
The seaside sky is tinged with grey,
The sun hides like a coward behind the clouds,
The ice cream van is gone,
The donkeys are gone,
The pier is too dangerous to tread on,
The sandcastles are destroyed, and
Those magical moments turn to stone.
The girl stops moving as if haunted
By the night,
Lost in the wilderness of her own doing,
Looking around for her father,
For the deckchair,
For anything.
She looks at her feet and the water’s risen
To her knees.
She’s taller now,
Her hair is longer,
Her body has changed,
And her eyes are sunken in her skull.
The years were kind but the days were harsh,
Questioning the moment it all went wrong,
Wondering what brought her here—
Here of all places.
Hollow and old, lost and alone,
Fearful,
Tired,
Empty.
The seagulls don’t squawk anymore
And the horns from passing ships are
Drowning out her crying.
One step further into waves, once her friend.
Bubbles she used to dance in now
Burst and distant.
The water is at her chest,
Approaching her lips,
Joining with her tears as the salt water
Tastes like a thousand bad mistakes.
She thinks about those snapshots of youth.
Her father and his deckchair.
The ice cream van and the donkeys.
The seagulls and the pier,
As she says goodbye to the waves
And waves goodbye to the world.

 

Christopher P.P. White is a writer that tries to find humour in the dark, treading through the sorrow with a wry smile across his face. He’s the type of guy you’d see at the bar nursing a beer while staring into oblivion, but the chances are he’s thinking of some clever title for a poem he’ll probably never write. Regardless, he loves words more than life itself, and hopes you like the ones he writes.

Chad Parenteau is Associate Editor of Oddball Magazine.