Life on the beachfront has it’s periods of joy and sorrows. On most days, the sea waters on our mile long stretch of white sand beach is usually rough and sometimes filled with strong currents. Therefore it has always been a great pleasure for myself and the other residents of our small community to enjoy the luxury of the waters and our white sand beach whenever the sea becomes calm.
The sea usually changes it’s temperament during the nights and as it does so, it’s changes can be felt in the wind. The wind instead of being fast moving becomes almost tranquil & still and the temperature in the air decreases. As it gets colder during the night, you wake up in the morning feeling chilled to the bones. Then you realize, “Aha! The sea is calm!”.
Man! It is hard to describe the feeling of elation that I usually feel due to this rare change in nature that sometimes comes once every three months. It is equally hard to describe the feeling of elation when I rush to the beach to take a dip into those warm turquoise coloured waters just about the time when the sun begins to rise. Oh the warmth!! But I can also count on the fact though, that as you rise from those warm caressing waters, my skin would become filled with goose pimples as my warm body comes in contact with the very cool air of the mornings’ environment. This is easily compensated by rushing to the towel that is laid out on the sand and snugly wrap myself up and run across the road to home where a shower settles it all. Well, after that dip and shower I always feel rejuvenated as if I could conquer the world for that day.
As the sun rises in the sky and other individuals in the community become aware of the calmness of the sea, the mile-long white sandy beach soon becomes dotted with the very avid lovers of the calm sea like myself, everyone out with the entire family to share in the beauty of the day as it unfolds.
As the course of the day wears on persons who have had their early morning dip would go home to rest. Yet still, there were others who were at home making haste to complete the day’s chores in order to be able to go to the beach. Unfortunately this Sunday morning, not everyone who was out for the day’s pleasure would make it home again.
One such person was Nancy, a female teenager, who was doing well for herself at school, since she was one of the few in the community who had managed to successfully sit the Common Entrance Examination that had qualified her a spot in the Parish’s most prominent high school. At about fourteen years old, she had managed to reach about the third form level and was all set for better days.
This day being a Sunday, she had set about preparing herself for school for the following day. This included ironing the school uniform and blouses for the week so that she would be ready on time for school in the mornings. She did her chores with much haste and after ironing her clothes, she grabbed her bathing suit and towel and rushed off the Rose Garden Hill to get herself her fair share of the waters.
She joined in with the many beach goers and waded in the water, swam around and had her fun. Suddenly there was a cry coming from the waters. “Help! Help! Help! Help!”. By the time it was realized that someone was in difficulty, Nancy had vanished under the water. Well, our community had a number of known good swimmers, they reacted at the cry for help by swimming out to rescue the teenager from the waters. She was quickly brought ashore, where she was laid out on the beach with froth coming from her mouth. The butcher of the town, Mass Keithy, who lived just a couple of houses from her, sprang into action and started to administer CPR, but this was to no avail. She was quickly rushed to the hospital which was fifteen miles away. We all waited anxiously to hear what had happened. But as old people used to say, “ No news is good news” when the message finally arrived it was to say that Nancy had died.
Some persons theorized that she had just drowned, while some theorized that she had a collapse due to the fact that she was hot from ironing and from probably running about a quarter mile to get to the beach and had not given herself enough time for her body too cool off before jumping in the sea.
Well, that Sunday School evening was a mournful one for me, as Nancy’s death weighed heavily on my mind. She had died just a couple days after my two brothers had died in a motor vehicle accident and the concept of death was like a bubble in my chest.