“I like you.” Luna gushed. “I’ve never seen anything like you before.”
“And I’ve never seen anything quite like you.” She replied moving her mouth into a sort of smile.
Luna gave her a big ‘I’ve-got-the-cream smile’ back and skittered around her feet as we walked; the kite following us along the beach like a faithful old dog on a lead. As we walked I opened up to the girl that we were on a journey but that it wasn’t turning out quite as we’d planned. Just why I told her this I’ve no idea; I’ve always been too happy to tell people what is happening in my life.
“To be honest if I’d have known that it was going to be like this I’d probably never have bothered. All I wanted was a little time away, the open road, a few pubs and some interesting people to chat to. Instead I’ve got some sort of Pilgrim’s Progress crossed with Gulliver’s Travels all wrapped up in a campervan road trip. I know we’ve only been going a couple of days but it’s all a little weird, so weird I’m beginning to wonder if there isn’t some kind of mushroom hiding in the Puckster that’s kicking out magic spores. I mean, we’ve started finding roads that take us to places we can’t be close too, like this place and bumping into – I’ll hope you’ll excuse me for this – people that don’t seem quite… well, normal. Where exactly are we anyway?”
“Nowhere exactly, like the sign says… I call it Sandsend, but don’t worry it’s a good place to stop and think for a while, and when you are ready to go you can just leave. There’s nothing to keep you in nowhere. Anyway, who says that you are finding roads that you can’t be close too? How do you know that the roads aren’t finding you, and as for close or near or far, I expect it depends on how you measure distance.”
Sandsend; the name was familiar. Had I been here before? I remembered a sunny day, an inflatable boat and laughter, wading into the water to catch fish with a net, an ice cream shop just off the beach, a caravan. But the more I tried to remember the less I seemed to recall. No matter. Distance though… I remember well. Distance is a safe place to be.
“And how do you measure distance?” I enquired, thinking: ‘Yes, not quite normal.’
“I don’t. I have no need, I’m just here you see.”
And all the time we strolled along that early morning beach Luna walked besides her, glancing up in wonder every now and again, as if she saw something that I couldn’t see, as if she saw another girl, more of this girl than I could possibly see. Well, cats see things differently – it’s something to do with the way their eyes perceive light or the spectrum or something… just like them not being able to taste sweet - cats are such odd creatures.
“I love your eyes.” Luna whispered.
“I love yours too.” The girl whispered back.
Eventually we came to the edge of the sea, the red kite flying high and out above the gentle waves, and stopped there watching as it moved out across the water. I continued to explain how I felt that this wasn’t the journey I’d planned, that it didn’t seem to be going anywhere, how already I was beginning to think that I should turn back and go home. I’d expected a series of visits to well defined places with something at the end of my travels, instead I was getting confusing directions and a sense of being lost all of the time, aimless wandering, never knowing what to expect when I got to wherever it was I was going, not even knowing where ‘there’ was and would I ever get there anyway?
“Perhaps you should stop thinking about where you are travelling to and simply enjoy the travelling.” She said.
I watched the red kite far out at sea, suddenly realising that it wasn’t attached to the string any more but floating free. I turned to the girl to tell her that her kite had broken away – but she was gone. Looking back out to sea, I tried to find the kite once more but it had gone as well – vanished into the distance and away.
“Did you see her go?” I asked Luna who was sitting quietly on the sand. Luna nodded her head; “Where?”
“Nowhere,” Luna answered, “She just went. She sort of moved into the wind and flew away like her kite. I sort of saw it, out of the corner of my eye, but then I didn’t. Maybe she was never there at all; after all – we have no proof, no hard evidence, have we? ”
No hard proof? No hard evidence? Was this Luna speaking? But rather than dwell on her baristorial tone I hurriedly moved on.
“And I didn’t even ask her name.”
“I did.” Luna replied.
“What was it?” I asked as we walk back along the beach towards the Puckster; I could feel some breakfast was required.
“I forget, or maybe it got caught up in the wind and blew away.” She said.
But I didn’t believe that she had forgotten; and as for the wind? Well, it always blows cold when you least expect it.