A short story, of sorts - experienced in June 2017 and gifted in October 2019.
I am not sure if it was being on the verge of exhaustion, the heat, the unsteady terrain of the sand, or the alcohol from the night before but we stumbled over knees, plastic cups and mini sand mountains to find a deck chair, and collapsed onto it together. My skirt came up to nearly above my knickers as I squeezed up close to ensure we both fitted on the narrow plastic, snug and safe amongst the festivities and surrounded by strangers. With a perfect view of the stage, we watched an elegant, elfin woman with long light brown hair, as she soaked us in her soft vocals and gentle keys making a refreshing change from the hectic guitars and drums of the night before. Our bodies were warm where they touched and through the darkness, tiny flashes of lightening sparkled in the far distance but the air was pleasant and the sky above us was clear and splattered with tiny stars…
…and all of a sudden it came at us, with little warning and a lot of force. Wind from the sea, rolling off the waves, over the sand, between the deck chairs and umbrellas, either side of the narrow plastic we resided on and made its way intentionally towards the stage. The people followed. Standing up, moving inland, and within minuets the lighting rigs were down, the music has stopped and everyone was ushering towards the bar. The wind had brought with it a sense of uneasy anticipation and excitement, contrasting the night from the bright sunny days and changing the energy in the air. Wind and salt whipped through our hair, rendering it matted and stiff and little grains of sand grazed the sensitive skin of our face and inner thighs.
We wove through the increasingly dense crowd and found a corner as sheltered as we could next to friends, and all stood to watch the next band together. We stood for a generous half an hour, sharing homemade sangria from a water bottle, and occasionally spitting out unwanted fruit pith. The air was hazy as the wind carried sand with it, forming shapes and dancing through the spaces between us all. To the left of the stage was a sand dune, usually heavy with bodies climbing higher to easily see the band performing. It had been stripped of people and was left predominantly bare, yet on the very edge closest to the sea were two boys. Drunk, and ecstatic they stood. Arms raised above their heads clinging onto their shirts to create sails which the wind lifted and played with. Pulling the cloth taught, away from their bodies, fighting against the boys grip in an attempt to steal the shirts away. Within moments, Kitty has sprinted from where we stood, and up the dune to join the two boys leaving a trail of giggles and delighted yelps behind her. I hesitated, and on a second thought sprinted after her fighting against the sand and wind, scrambling against my tipsy legs and over sized sandals, over the grassy bumps and up the slope to the crest of the mound. And then we danced.
The wind continued to whip around us, under our skirts, between our legs, through and into our hair. We raised our arms and spun around, feeling it pull our clothes and bodies in different directions, excited and bordering hysterical as this episode of abnormal and unexpected weather had dramatically sent our evening into a different realm. There was an unavoidable feeling and realisation, that this was a moment we would have in our lives, incapable of recreating and in no way able to anticipate. There have been a few moments or experiences like that in my life, where if I stop and think, I can truly relate to peoples belief and faith in the afterlife and in a higher force. There is a comfort in feeling so small, so unimportant, and so out of control that gives a feeling of elation and strength. The pressure that comes alongside feeling as though everything is within your power, only leaves room to assume as though you could have done more, or made different choices to be able to change your destiny and avoid your misfortune and failures. But for those moments, as we danced on a sand dune with friends in Northern Italy we had been blessed with a thing of freedom; an uninhibited moment as a gift to us from the weather.
Happy Birthday Kitty.
Thank you for being the most fiercely loyal friend, and for in all the ways you hold me up. The next city that sees us together won’t know whats hit it.
Love Emma xx