Posted by: David Weimer | November 14, 2012

You Will Leave (short story excerpt)

This is an excerpt from a short story, You Will Leave, that may appear in an upcoming book I’m working on called Situations of I.  


Sorry I haven’t been here lately.  Busy.  

 *

A boy finds a bottle on a beach.  The surf washes its cadence into the shore and interacts with itself, grinding shells and flotsam in eternal repetitive movements.

A bottle.  An empty Pepsi bottle.  He picks it up from the sand.  Contentment flows through him.  He squats and sets the bottle upright on the damp sand just beyond the waterline.  A handful of sand, held over the lid, lets granules sift onto the rounded top and cascade down the sides in a musical shushing hollow sound.

First sand fills the bottle, then is poured out to form a pile.  Again..  Again..  The pile grows.

Later, small shells alone fill the bottom portion of the plastic cylindrical container.

The boy holds one hand on top of the bottle and shakes it.  This, and the resulting sound, go on for some time.

The bottle fills up more with broken shells, pebbles, smooth worn sticks and pieces of tumbled glass.

He pours them out, forming a pile next to the dry sand pile.

He goes to the incoming waves, wades ankle-deep and holds the bottle under the surface.  He holds a small amount of water and sand up.  It is a somewhat cloudy mixture.

The boy puts one hand on top of the bottle and, holding it in two hands, shakes repeatedly before stopping and looking into the upheld container.  The sun glints from the bottom of the bottle and its internal contents.

Water is poured out.  Refilled and poured out, on top of the sand pile.  Refilled and poured out again.  The sand pile is water-logged and slumping.

Empty bottle thrown into the surf, then retrieved by the running, furtive boy.  Thrown out further next time.  Wading deeper, grabbing the bottle just before it goes out with the tide.

Listening to the open end of the bottle.  Listening.  This goes on.

Blow now across the top of the sand-encrusted plastic bottle.  A sharp haunting sound is repeated again and again.

Pour sand now into the bottle with cupped hands.  Water from the surf is added by submerging the bottle under incoming waves.

Walking to dry sand, shaking the bottle, mixing the swirling sand and water.  He sets the bottle down and lies down on the warmth, head on one hand, elbow on sand, on his side, watching.

Lying on his stomach, now with clasped hands under his chin.  He is watching the settling sand in the bottle and the clearing water.

It’s a little ocean, he knows.

Other things happen, one after the other, for long stretches of timelessness.

The sun, the sound of the surf, the wind blowing grains of sand, the seagulls.

Lying on his back, with arms outstretched to his sides, he looks up at the blue sky and white clouds.

In a few minutes, he stands slowly, with great effort.  Knees, shoulders and elbows ache with arthritis.  The sun is warm on his brown, wrinkled skin.  He brushes sand from his legs, chest and swim trunks.  A few remaining wisps of hair on the top of his head move with the offshore breeze.

No bottle, no pile of sand or pebbles or shells.

He looks around.  The wide endless sea is there, as always.  The beach, the sand, the wind, the sun and him.

Fin

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