Today it’s hotter at Camber Sands than anywhere in Death Valley. I’m eating olives stuffed with anchovies because I’ve drunk all the wine in the plastic wine tumbler. Maureen doesn’t like olives. Too foreign, she says. Reminds me of that Israeli guy, did I tell you about him? Yes, I say, the one that went all religious on you. Yes him, Maureen says. I want sex on the beach, I say. Really, Maureen says, with everyone looking? I was thinking under a towel, I say, but no chance.
When I swim in the sea a piece of seaweed gets caught in my hair and I hold my stomach in walking back and Maureen says, you’re one sad old bitch and we laugh hard and people stare but the young guys don’t turn an eye in our direction because young guys aren’t interested in middle-aged women who laugh too loud and have to hold their bellies in.
We buy choc-ices. Better than sex, we say. We get ice-lollies for the kids. Our boys are building a sandcastle and waiting for the tide to come in. The tide takes a long time here. Like waiting for a date.
I want to dig a hole to Australia, I say. Why would you want to do that, Maureen asks? It’s just an idea, I say, maybe I’m bored. Your nose is burning, Maureen says, stick some cream on it. I wouldn’t mind kissing him, I say, pointing to a guy to our left. He’s a bit of OK, Maureen says.
We tuck into a bag of crisps. The boys are digging channels now. Time passes. The tide is coming in. But not for us.
Bronwen Griffiths is the author of two novels, ‘A Bird in the House’ and ‘Here Casts No Shadow,’ and two collections of flash fiction, ‘Not Here Not Us – Stories of Syria’ and ‘Listen with Mother.’ Her flash fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and online journals. She lives in East Sussex, UK.