Jessica finished work on a baking hot Friday afternoon. The office, in which she worked in, was now behind her. No longer will she have the stench of body odor from her co- worker in the next cubicle or of the lunch that people have half eaten and then thrown in the bin clinging to the back of her nose. She was done and dusted for the afternoon and had only one thing in mind to do. On the passenger seat is a bottle of water, a hair brush and a book. She plans to take them and sit on the beach to catch some rays while the sun is still out.
Her office block is only a few short minutes away from the beach. She has spent the day looking out of her window at the sea. How blue it looks. How calm it looks. How great it would be to throw yourself into. No, too gross. Jessica wasn’t much of a fan of going for a swim in the ocean. She thinks too much of the negative side of it; Crabs and hard shells beneath your feet, people spit, puke, shit and piss in there, and the other side to that is you don’t know what people throw in there. She is just happy to sit on the stones and lay back with her book.
After she crossed the road and got to the beach she was quite surprised. It was empty. ‘Why’s it a hot Friday afternoon and there’s nobody around?’ she thought. She got to a smooth area just before the shoreline and looked at her watch; 5:45.
She looked to her left and saw the pier starting to light up. On the pier sits an ice cream stand, a dozen benches, some deck chairs and some telescopes. There’s a small hut in the middle which has an arcade inside. Jessica could hear the noises of the money machines paying off, various slots being pulled and the gunfire from an action game. On her right side was nothing but stones. It stretched as far as her eyes could see.
The sun was beginning to set and it turned the rest of the beach a peachy orange colour. Jessica put her hand up as a visor to the sun and then began to ignore the fact that she is the only one there. She felt like a fool but deep down she couldn’t be happier. At last it’s just peace and quiet. What’s meant to be rush hour on the road is nothing more than a few cars dwindling along the road. No horns being pressed, no shouting from the youths. That was one of her pet peeves, people being loud when there’s no need to be.
She took her shoes off and placed them next to her then went into her handbag to get out her book. Usually she wears a suit jacket to work with either trousers or stockings but on a day like this, she really couldn’t be bothered. Instead she sits there wearing a white shirt, unbuttoned down to the top of her stomach to add to her already radiant sex appeal and a black short skirt. Her blonde hair was placed in a ponytail this morning but now she had to let it breathe. There’s no wind to channel its way through her hair though. For a moment she thought she had her earphones in but with no music playing. She shakes her head and leans back on her arms, her legs crossed at the ankles. She closes her eyes and puts her head back.
“Oh this is it.” She said to herself. Then the negative thoughts come racing back. ‘Shit I have to go back on Monday’.
Jessica opened her eyes. She’s looking up at a light purple sky and every now and again the odd seagull flying past her vision. She puts her head forward and looks at the sun set. It feels that that’s all it is now; the sun, a few seagulls and Jessica Bravet. Brave-et. Mispronunciation has haunted her for all of her life. At school, at work people called her Bravv-et. Her teacher always said it wrong, even when Jessica corrected him. His name was Mr. Crichton and one day Jessica, just to get back at him, said this; “I’m sure you’re doing this for your own amusement Mr. Crickton. That resulted in Jessica receiving her first and only detention.
The waves crash into the small rocks and take them elsewhere. Where do they go?
Jessica opens her romantic book at the page she left on. She crosses her legs the other way now, just to even out the tan. She begins to read to herself.
‘There was just the two of them, he took her hand and…’
She stops reading and observes her surroundings. Not that she should be surprised but there was still nobody around. She packs the book away; she just doesn’t feel like reading at that time. Instead she just lays back and closes her eyes. She is completely alone with her thoughts and alone on the beach.
‘Is a seagull going to shit on me?’ her eyes open and she sits up. Is it normal to feel paranoid when there’s nothing to be paranoid about?
She’s tired, she could fall asleep, she could wake up with a humiliating sun burn on her face, a seagull could shit on her, a crab could crawl in her hair, a bug could crawl into her ear and lay eggs in her…
‘Enough with the negative thoughts’ she thought to herself.
She gets cross with herself when she thinks like that. It stops her from living an adventurous life. In Barbados three years ago, Jessica and her two friends went there to have fun and let their hair down for two weeks. They wanted to go to the clubs and hook up with some guys. Her two friends Anne and Kayleigh found two guys to ‘party’ with but Jessica again thought negative thoughts. What if the two men were rapists? What if their intention is to kill them? If Jessica knew then what she knew now, then she would’ve told her brain to fuck off. Its three years down the line and Anne and Kayleigh are happily married to the men from the club. In fact, Kayleigh and her husband are expecting their first child in the winter. Jessica was gutted. If she thought like them, she could be expecting or even have a child of her own by now. It was probably due to her upbringing. Jessica’s father was a security man at the shopping mall and was rarely seen in the evenings and her mother was a house wife during the week and evening receptionist at the weekends. Rumours started to spread and word got through town and eventually the Bravet household. Her Dad has been sleeping with Taryn the slut who worked in the Gap store in the mall. Every night the mall was locked up and he and Taryn would go at it on the floor of the gent’s toilet. When her Mum found out, she kicked him out and told him never to come into their lives again. He did as instructed and was on the next bus to wherever the hell it was he was going. Jessica found it very hard to trust men again. She was nine when all of that happened and since then the only guys she’s been with are the one’s she’s slept with while being drunk. She was drunk, she had no responsibility.
Jessica looked at the ocean. It was slowly reaching her. A feeling was developing and she didn’t understand why.
She was beginning to feel threatened by the water, threatened that it was going to hurt her.
She looked at her watch; 5:58.
There wasn’t anything she had to do when she got home. Throw on some shorts and put on a film. That’s what she would normally do. Not tonight. Tonight was different. Tonight she felt that she could prove herself wrong. Her stupid negativity has burnt itself into her brain for too long.
Who cares if there’s puke or shit in the ocean? Who cares if she treads on sharp shells or walks on top of a crab? Not her.
She stands up and takes her shirt off revealing a purple bra. She then wriggles out of her skirt and places them into her bag.
She turns around and looks. Did someone just call her? Silence, nobody around.
She ignores it and begins to make her way to the ocean.
She stops cautiously. Is the ocean talking to her? She looks at it and tries to figure it out. Is it doing something to get her attention?
The hairs rise on the back of her neck. She’s scared stiff.
The waves crash into the small rocks and pull them into the ocean. When the water pulls back, it looks like it’s waving at her to come in, urging her to step into it.
Jessica shuts her eyes and starts taking baby steps towards the ocean.
The watch in her bag beeps that it’s 6:00.
She should’ve listened to her instincts.
The water wraps itself around her ankle and begins to pull her deep. She goes to scream but a bigger wave jumps down her throat, choking her chances of calling for help.
She tries to crawl back to her belongings but it’s too late. The water envelopes her and takes her down. No bubbles surface. Nothing does.
The watch beeps again.