I’ve got a favourite place on the seafront, a prime piece of land where I like to spread myself out and read, or write, or just relax beneath the sun without having to fight for space, elbow-to-elbow, with all the other sandy-jawed schmucks. When I’m dead, they’ll put one of those little blue plaques there. ‘Here sat Millard, reading books at wholly coincidental arse-level to passers by’, and they’ll name it Millard’s Rise. In many respects, this small section of grass overlooking the sands is my true home, like a dragon’s cave, or the forbidden armchair of an overbearing ex-colonel father.
I’ve been for a wander, and as one does, I made my way back home to Millard’s Rise, readying to kick off my shoes and laze back on the grass; on my grass. But something’s wrong, and it’s with a sharp intake of breath that I look down and see something in my spot. Something; someone — a girl. Pretty, in warm pastel colours, and with catwalk legs that make me think she’d be eight feet tall if she stood, she’s usurped me as the real life, 3D, Foursquare mayor of my pitch. Outrageous behaviour. Resisting the urge to make a scene by initiating some kind of two-person gang-war, I bite the inside of my cheeks, take a sidestep to the left, and set myself down, a whole two feet over from my normal patch. I shall not be moved.
Thus, it begins. Back to back, in silence, me and the girl sit on the patch of grass, each reading our respective books. People shriek and swagger around us, but we sit and quietly read, odd reflections of each other, in this beach world of disparate grotesques, sharing rare common bonds of a love of words, and of a patch of freshly cut lawn alongside the promenade. Eventually, without saying a word, the pretty girl with the book and the legs gets up and strolls off, leaving me to read all by myself.
I win. As she walks away forever, leaving me sat alone, I have won.