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Accidently on Brighton Beach

By Elaine Akester

Wind blows us round the band stand, you, fragile against the wrought iron.

It was worth having a picture taken with arms outstretched, cardboard bending against the strength of the wind; the news reported later the coast had taken it’s worst battering for over thirty years. Hair swiped our faces and laughter took over, the man with the flash camera offered to take a shot of us against the railings, he took so long we were at the point of telling him to piss off, guessing, he took a picture and one more for luck, handing back your camera with a smile that stretched his cracked lips.


We clung to each other’s crooked arms and headed into the day. I wanted to see the waves crashing but the force was so strong we kept our heads down through the rejecting wind. Your long black hair flung about madly, you tamed it skilfully with a jade silk scarf. The regimental dinghies formed a gauntlet to run, their singing jangling ropes beat against the flag poles like some crazy mixed up glockenspiel. The icy speed reddened our skin, taut and glowing as if from a sudden beating, ears bitten by harsh nips from the salty wind.


Under the promenade, beneath the arches snuck in between the shuttered hot dog/ice cream parlour and the all you can eat buffet, rested The Fortune of War. Music broke as the door opened to let a stranger in and it called us over to join the dark and dingy cabin. In trepidation we imagined the call of a siren instead of the voice of John Lee Hooker and weighed up the bar staff


Upstairs through the small arched window, craned against the beams black with gluey paint, we watched as adventurers battled through as we had, we drank bottles of beer and sat and watched as pirates landed their ship. The Blues and the beer warmed us and we knew we were in a special place, for that day we were the pirates, the fierce sea goers, not strangers who knew this place would look different tomorrow, this evening, when we leave and somebody else takes our seat.

This page was amended on 09/04/2014
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