Twilight Encore

by Matt Triewly

Could the cleverest mathematician or the most powerful computer, given every possible variable, model and predict the pattern of the myriad of waves breaking relentlessly upon the small stranded beach beneath me?

It is a question I have pondered many times before. It is also irrelevant because if I was to know the answer then it would leave me little or no wiser.

You see, I have come to the conclusion that I am in a coma and that everything around me is some sort of mental construct. I have arrived at that inference because always I find myself peering down at the sea and entertaining the same speculations. I also know that in a few minutes I will walk the short distance across the pier entrance and place my right foot on the platform of a bus that will never take me home.

I watch the seagulls screech and wheel down, briefly touching the seaweed strewn beach in their search for morsels.

The mid evening breeze picks up momentarily to waft the stench of rotting seaweed and decaying sea creatures into my nostrils and as if on cue the lamps spaced evenly along the pier click on and flicker into an orange glow. I observe dispassionately the tidal current as it flows east, forever flows east, creating mini whirlpools in the wake of the corroded iron stanchions supporting the half mile long pier. The complexity of the illusion never ceases to enthral me.

I cast my eyes skyward to the wispy clouds hued crimson by a sun that has just slipped beneath the horizon - a sun I have never seen in this domain.

I am condemned for all eternity, or so it seems, to a poignant twilight yet I am not dead - how can it be?

I sometimes see a lorry careering towards me on the wrong side of the road - terror, numb terror. I can recall nothing else of the life I must have once possessed.

I imagine myself upon a bed in a darkened hospital room attached to drips and monitors. I wonder if I am on a ventilator and I speculate as to how along it will be before that ventilator is switched off.

Shortly I will turn away from the chest high stone seawall and watch a middle aged lady with two Scottie Dogs walk past. She will cast me a polite half smile and then dissolve into the ether at the periphery of my vision.

I hear the diners across the road in the Chinese restaurant and I wait for a plate to be dropped, broken a thousand times before. I glance across at the warmly illuminated King Lud public house with patrons standing just outside on the pavement smoking and raising glasses periodically to their lips.

I watch a two toned green double-decker bus roll into the bus station, the bus I will never quite catch.

I stroll predestined across the entrance to the Pier as a reluctant actor in this short endless loop of a film spliced by who-knows-who out of the few remaining fragments of the memories of, what must be, a massively mashed brain - I guess I should be grateful.

A sluttish looking girl with tattoos on her arms lounges slovenly against the window of the Travel Office in the bus station and looks me up and down - it still makes me shiver after all these times.

The passenger door of the vehicle hisses open and the friendly young spectacled driver beckons me on. I put my right foot on the platform...

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Could the cleverest mathematician or the most powerful computer, given every possible variable, model and predict the pattern of the myriad of waves breaking relentlessly upon the small stranded beach beneath me...

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