Friday, 7 August 2015


Froth filled waves licked my ankles. It was just 10am, but the sun shone brighter than I ever thought it could. It reflected on the water until my sister became a glistening blur of colours and smiles. I liked her that way. The beach was still empty at that hour on a Sunday– it was as if the entire sea was ours to keep, the tide dancing at the tips of our fingers. We danced with it.

And in the midst of all the frolicking and salt water splashing, my eyes flickered to my mum. She sat on the blanket under our umbrella, not because the sun’s beauty was too much for her, but because hers would have been too much for the sun. But her eyes weren’t focused up there anyway. Or on the coast’s rugged cliffs or the crystal blue sky. Instead, they stared into a screen.

I bit my tongue at first, held it in, waited for her to realise. She didn’t. Most people don’t.

“Put the phone down, Mum.”

“Why?” She asked, the line of her furrowed eyebrows grazing the tops of her sunglasses, shielding her gaze from me. I didn’t need to see – I could picture what it looked like. “What else am I supposed to do?”

I must have rolled my eyes in typical teenager fashion, but I tattooed the line somewhere onto my brain for a later date.

Had I replied, she would have laughed anyway. Because the real answer to her question was: nothing. She didn’t need to jump up and dive headfirst into the water or start jogging along the shore. She didn’t need to busy her fingers in making a sandcastle or dig a hole in which to bury my dad – that could come later.

All she needed was to look up, allow her eyes to wander, let the saltwater breeze waft through her nose until the stress of the week before drifted away, soon becoming little more than a distant memory. All she needed was to sit and feel the ripples of sand across her feet, feel the strength of her legs beneath her.

All she needed was to be.

Life doesn’t always have to be about finding something to do. It isn’t about planning out every second. It’s about using every second, taking each moment to inhale and exhale and remember everything you love about the humble little life you’re living. The intensity of that first sip of coffee in the morning and the smell of the lavender bush you walk past every day. The animal shaped clouds and the way the strings of your guitar echo in the evening – all that you miss if your eyes are focused elsewhere. All that you miss if you make your life a constant cycle of doing, and craving, and doing some more.  

Sometimes nothing can be everything.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015


There’s something about airports.

The feeling of being surrounded by countless lives so drastically different from your own. But just as vivid, just as complex. The feeling that all those unknown faces and anonymous names have gathered in a single space. Snippets of conversations drift into your ears, images of people you’ve never seen before and will never see again. And yet your paths happened to cross.

You sit in a seat whose comfort is deceiving, another traveller an inch away from both of your arms. You got the armrest. You’re close enough to see the swell of their chest with every breath. Your finger glides over the seam of your wallet, tempted to buy overpriced items that you never otherwise would. Airports with waiting halls that require no necessity for distraction, no constant page flipping or social media scrolling. For once it becomes enough to sit and sip lukewarm coffee from a polystyrene cup, eyes flickering from side to side. Watching other lives being lived.

It’s electric.

Walls that have watched, toilet seats that have felt more than most. Every battered suitcase its own level of stuffed, wheels sliding over floors that have licked the sole of every shoe, halls that have heard the sincerest of goodbyes and the most heartfelt of hellos.

On your left, or right depending on the mood, light cascades through larger-than-life windows. Views of planes waiting to take off to destinations of which you may have never heard, places you might not ever get the chance to visit. Pilots that perform under the pressure of countless lives on their shoulders, air hostesses that purse their lips together in a failed effort to hide the pain of their uniforms digging into their chests.

Lean back in your fake leather chair and take a second. Just watch.

Watch the frequent flyers with their spotless suits and ties, the ones that can navigate through the airport with their eyes closed. Sometimes, early in the mornings, they do. Watch the picture perfect family ready for a holiday – sunhats already unique to the shapes of their heads. Watch the frantic duty free shoppers and the young, sun-kissed couples ready to conquer the world – together.
Together. Just for a while.

Before, within an hour or two, everyone will evaporate into their own separate directions. And the lives that lived around you will grow all the more vivid, all the more complex. As will yours.