by Chelsea Carter

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The covers had a deep red floral pattern to them. The bed was large; king size. In it, two mounds formed in the shape of a man and a woman. The larger mound belonged to the man, his brown leathery skin poking out of the sides. The second belonged to the woman, pink and doughy. She inhabited just the right corner.

The shipping forecast softly spoke at 05:20 “Humber, Thames, Dover, Wight. South West 4, occasional 5 or 6. Moderate rain. Moderate or good, becoming moderate or poor later.”

The mounds shifted.

Dawn was creeping through the light red curtains. The room was engulfed in a purple hue. The woman’s eyes slowly opened. She looked at the time and listened to the voice on the radio, as she did most mornings. She looked at her husband’s back and kissed the corner of his shoulder softly. She rolled over to face the door, sliding her hand under the pillow to feel its coolness.

Maybe this morning she’ll sleep in till later, she felt so tired.

She closed her eyes and continued to listen to the shipping forecast.

By half 5, it was complete. Linda still lay awake, and like clockwork she could hear a light scratching on the door. Now she had company in her insomnia. Piggy, the Jack Russell could always sense when she was awake. Usually, she’d lie in bed, ignore the dog and pretend to sleep until a more acceptable time to rise came. Today was a different day. She didn’t want to wait for the rest of the house to awake from their slumber.

She pushed the covers back, got out of bed and pulled some clothes out of a drawer. She slid into her light blue jeans; put a plain white top on and a navy blue fleece, and lastly stepped into her brown deck shoes. This was her daily uniform.

The dog on the other side of the door could sense her movement and began whimpering with excitement. She splashed her face with cold water and was ready to go. As she opened her bedroom door, Piggy saw her for the first time and ran up and down the landing with excitement. It put a smile on her face.

Her husband moved slightly in his sleep. She closed the door gently.

Down the stairs and to the kitchen. She picked up the lead and out the door they went.

She took brisk strides and let the morning air fill her lungs and sting her nostrils and blow through her short fair hair.  In no time she found herself on the seafront, the tide was in, just like she knew it would be.

The beach was almost entirely empty, apart from the barges that slowly sailed past and the old woman that liked to swim in the sea most days. Linda shouted “Morning!” loudly to her, but the old woman was too far out to hear her. Linda wondered if the old lady was mad, or if she just liked ritual. Either way, she looked content.

They finally reached the climax of their walk, The Point. Here, Linda could clearly see Southend Pier, how it stretched across the horizon, as though it was drawing a line between sea and sky. Linda sat on the edge of the sea wall and inhaled as much of the sea air as possible, as the sun rose, the wind began to die down and Linda’s body slowed down. She lay her head down on the cold granite surface and shut her eyes. Piggy would sit by her till she woke.