She had finally managed to get him to come out with her. When he mentioned how gutted he was to miss out on tickets to the exhibition, she happily paid Dixy565 over the odds on eBay.
Deconstructed wave sounds juxtaposed with audio of people eating, played in white rooms featuring images of dead sea creatures. Every time she looked over, he seemed enraptured.
Afterwards they bought beer and sat on grey concrete overlooking the harbour. Their feet dangled towards the cataract blue water which hosted a flotilla of cigarette butts. Occasionally a gaping fish mouth would surface, feeling for sustenance, before retreating, disappointed.
She watched his long fingers wrapped around the thin plastic pint, the way the muscles in his wrist tightened, that bit of hair that fell across his face when he leaned forward. She reached inside her head for something interesting to say.
“I was reading about the 52 hertz whale earlier. Have you heard of it?” He shook his head.
“They set these stations up in the Pacific ocean during the Cold War, to detect Russian subs, but now they use them to monitor whales, listening to their sonic frequencies. They picked up this one whale and it is singing at 52 hertz. But the thing is, no other whales have a call at that frequency so they’re not sure what type of whale it is. This poor creature is swimming the ocean alone, calling out and getting no response.”
She was so close that she could smell his leather jacket, its animal tang. She waited but he was looking at his phone. He made his apologies. It was work. He had to go. He thanked her for the ticket, not offering to pay, hugged her briefly and walked away.
People in brightly coloured clothes spilled out of the art gallery and dotted themselves on picnic tables and along the harbour wall. She imagined looking down on them from above, a smashed up Rubik’s cube. She looked down at her grey dress before slowly pouring the rest of her beer into the water, watching the mouths coming up, closing around nothing.
Agnes lives by the sea on the south coast of England and writes when she can in any little nooks of life she can find. She is inspired by fairytales and folktales and the dampness of human existence. Twitter: @troubledcure.
Image via Unsplash.