It’s nice and warm outside and I’m going to be staying at a beach house, right on the beach. I can’t see it yet, but I’m on my way there and the weather’s really great. There’s a wood full of trees between me and the beach, but I know there’s a beach beyond the wood because I can hear the waves. I can hear the calming ocean.
The trees are sparsely laid-out and not that tall, so they let in a lot of light from above. I walk through them, looking up at the light between the higher branches. I come to a sandy path that leads slightly downwards. On my left is a group of three Americans chatting quietly together. I can’t hear what they’re saying, but I see that one of them is taking a picture of a bird. I think it’s a robin.
Suddenly, I start to run. I run down the path, kicking up sand with my feet. I run and run and as I run, I discover the beach house. It’s lonely, very lonely and there are no other buildings anywhere in sight. The building is rectangular in shape and is painted white with a flat roof. When I reach it, I enter it through a back door, slowing down so I can walk through the plain, neat rooms, gazing all around. It is modern inside with big French doors at the front overlooking the vast seascape.
As I go out through the big French doors I feel the warmth of the sea breeze against my skin and listen to the whoosh of rhythmical waves. I look to my right along the smooth stretch of beach into the far distance. The sand is a pale yellow and the sea is clear turquoise. I look to my left along the full length of the beach and I notice, close-by on the side of the beach house, a beautiful, multicoloured mosaic depicting the sun.
I set off towards the water, walking right into it. The sand beneath the gentle waves shelves steeply so I start to swim. I hear myself speak.
“Wow, the water’s so warm, I can barely feel it!”
I tread water for a bit, enjoying how the water is so lovely and warm. Then I notice that the sand beneath me is flat, so I put my feet down and stand up in the water. A dark patch swims by under the surface. It’s the huge shadow of a California sea-lion and she circles me from the right. She’s got pin-like teeth and her whiskers are sent backwards in anger. Suddenly, she bites me on my right hand. I can’t see the creature’s eyes, but it’s a huge animal and it’s got hold of my hand. It hurts so bad. A piece of advice comes into my head.
If you don’t keep hold of their mouth, they will bite again and again.
So, somehow, I manage to pull my hand out of its mouth, then I reach down into the water and squeeze my fingers tightly around its muzzle. I look into the sea-lion’s juicy, browny-red eye and I can see all the components of its biology; its wiry whiskers, thick eyelids, the highlights in its eye. I realise that I’m holding the sea-lion’s mouth closed so it can’t bite me again, but I have to squeeze and keep squeezing with all my strength.
Explanation offered to girlfriend:
“You shouted my name out during the night, but not for sexy reasons. You told me I was trying to strangle you, with my arm squeezing around your neck. I was totally confused because I didn’t remember anything at first. I’m not sure what the dream means. I think the duvet might have felt like warm water. Maybe I got too warm in my sleep or maybe I thought you were a big female sea-lion stealing my bit of sea.”