The Whole World Under a Spotless Sky

The sky is solid blue. Not so much as a cumulonimbus all the way down to the horizon. I can see the stillness, the infinitely mysterious hue that offers a steady back drop for the book I’m reading. The character I’m reading about recounts her time in small town Italy, a coastal olive-growing village called Liguria. I can’t help but fantasize about her experience, but the blue border of the pages remind me I’m having my own life-defining experience.

Same-same, but different.

I’m in some foreign place, more or less locked in by a global pandemic that’s linking the world together.

We’re united, albeit isolated.

#SocialDistancing

But here on the beach on Sydney’s eastern shores, the world seems at ease. There’s no better medicine than salt water.

I can identify several different accents in my immediate vicinity.

American

Australian

Indian

A boy in a yarmulke walks by my solo spot in the sand. He’s got quintessential round Harry Potter glasses perched on his nose which scrunches up with his eyes against the sun.

I’m surprised to watch him strip down to nothing but his boxers and curled side-locks, then wrap his towel around himself to skilfully swap his underpants for swim trunks, quick as a flash.

Between his spot and mine sits another lone beachgoer. I haven’t heard her make a peep yet. She sunbathes in solace. Then, she answers her phone. An accent, very possibly English.

My ear is not yet so refined to immediately tell the difference between the Queen’s English and the version Down Under. It takes a few sentences for me to know for sure, or otherwise key giveaway words.

I thought she was Australian. Also could have been American. I’m slightly surprised, and altogether completely unsurprised, that my quick judgement of where she was from was wrong.

The trio of Americans behind me left after their photoshoot on the rocks. Those accents, I know, although I will sometimes misidentify Canadians.

I wonder if anyone is considering me so keenly; wondering why I’m here–alone–, where I’m from, or what I’m writing.

I wonder if they’d be flattered to get a feature.

A girl to my right sunbathes topless. When I arrived, she was on her back. I’m here long enough to witness her flip to her stomach, then each side, as you would a steak.

She’s here solely to sunbathe.

can’t miss a spot

I’m here to write, and to witness, and to enjoy life by the beach.

me neither

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