Ostend_Day 1_The beach

In the distance I saw the sea for the very first time. They had put me two meters past the strandline. According to the calculations, the sea would reach me at precisely 12:34. I couldn’t wait to feel the water on me, but I had to wait, and could only watch as the sea came closer very slowly. I tried to think, as hard as I could: ‘put me closer, NOW’, hoping that my thoughts would become visible and float in big letters above me. But no one reacted. Maybe I shouldn’t have been thinking the ‘NOW’ the way I did, because people might find that too compulsive for a rope. Anyway, I was still, like always, completely stuck within myself, completely motionless. Like a thing. Like a rope.

About twenty children had set up their camping place for the day around me. They heard me. They heard how impatient I was, and they tried to bring the sea closer to me with buckets and little canals. I know now that, if I think very loudly, some kids can actually hear me. At 12:15 it happened. The first wave flowed right under me.

Everything went quiet. I heard two words. Again and again. The same words. The sea, it appeared, talks in one continuous stream and keeps repeating the same two words. Which are either ‘here’ and ‘there’ or ‘to’ and ‘fro’. It’s impossible to tell. And the closer she flowed, the more voices I could hear.

When I was all dried up, the camping place kids carried me to a wide pathway between the cabins. It looked as if I had arrived at a village square. Everyone was looking at me, everyone seemed to know each other and most of them had owned the same cabin for over twenty years now. It was a cabin neighbourhood with cabin neighbours, sand streets and a sand square. Pierre introduced us, and sent me to Willy, who had a very special cabin, and Ief had to take pictures with this one and that one and with me. Almost everyone came from Ostend and according to Pierre, you could recognize foreigners by their white skins. Pierre examined me very closely, so closely I could see my own reflection in his pair of glasses. I have a blue skin. Where do I come from?