The Trip

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: April 30, 2018

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Submitted: April 30, 2018

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It was Chantelle, said Raymond seeing James enter the room. She invited me on a trip to Brighton; would you like to come?
That would be lovely; I’ve always liked seaside towns, there’s something romantic about them, something that connects me to nature, also human nature. I don’t know, it’s maybe the smell or the gentle breeze or the sound of the waves breaking on the shore, Something touches my innermost chords when I’m by the sea…
I see, said Raymond. He didn’t understand his mawkishness. The word romantic reminded him of the great English poets, paintings and architecture, not the sea. 
What time shall we leave? asked James.
I told her we’ll be there in 45 minutes. Do you think you can make it?
Sure. But I need to stop at my house and get my swimming trunks.
Ok then. I’ll get mine and we’ll leave straightaway. 

After leaving the pub the previous night, Chantelle had taken a taxi home while Raymond and James had preferred walking and chatting. When they had arrived in front of Raymond’s house, Raymond had invited him in for a last shot. As the shots were more than one, they soon got drunk and thought it was safer for James to spend the night at Raymond’s. 
It wasn’t unusual for Raymond to have people sleeping over his place; and he himself had been sleeping around a lot since the break up with Jennifer.

Chantelle saw the Jaguar slowly approach her house until it came to a complete stop and her heart sank. She had a sudden feeling of uneasiness. 

Oh, you’re on perfect time. You really know how to treat a woman, said Chantelle, feigning good humour.
It’s a lovely day and I can’t wait to get to the beach, interjected James.
Exactly, we’ll be there in about an hour. Hurry up, get in, said Raymond.

James didn’t offer to give up the front seat to Chantelle so she got in from the rear door and sat comfortably behind Raymond.

We had a really good time last night at the pub, said James.
I really enjoyed it, said Chantelle. I was exhausted when I got home and went straight to bed. I slept like a log until this morning. 
It was a wonderful night, said Raymond, and we strolled along the high street a little, there were loads of people in the street. 
I wish I had had the strength to join in…
I wasn’t tired, said James, but I was drunk and  ended up spending the night at Raymond’s. 

Chantelle was taken aback, but at least now she could explain a couple of things: her sense of uneasiness and why James was going to Brighton with them. 
Why would they want to spend the night together? They were complete strangers after all. Were they really drunk or was there something more to it? She didn’t think they were weird or anything,  she was quite sure Raymond wasn’t; they had had a short relationship, if that counted for anything. As for James she couldn’t swear on him, but to all appearances he was straight. 

The sea was already visible in the horizon and the fresh sea breeze gently dispelled her thoughts. More romantic thoughts took their place, taking her back to the time when she was in love with Raymond, when an intense feeling overwhelmed her life. 

James’s elation at the sight of the sea interrupted Chantelle’s train of thoughts.

What a fantastic view, said James, the blue is so intense.

Raymond beheld the immense flatness of the sea and was silent. The consistent uniformity of the sea repeating itself endlessly inspired a profound sense of tranquillity in him. And with tranquillity came lofty thoughts and feelings. His arms were steering the wheel which kept him attached to the ground, while this mind was flying high: he was already thinking of distant realities and possibilities. Raymond was never content with things as they were, he would always come up with an alternative option, and often it was a better option. If there was a quality that prevailed over his many others, that was imagination. 

As his mind immersed into the depths of the thoughts inspired by the sea, the deep green of his eyes grew more intense, the muscles of his face relaxed and his expression became intent. His two companions were still chatting and he could hear their voices in the back of his mind.

Look at the seagulls, said Chantelle, what marvellous birds they are!
They inspire me a sense of freedom and elegance at once, replied James.
Can you imagine being able to fly? Feeling the air against your face and looking at the world from above.
In a way swimming gives me a similar sensation as water counterbalances gravity. When I swim, I feel the water against my body and feel free to move in the element. The contact with water makes life more real. Feeling the water is like feeling life itself.
We’ll be on the beach in five minutes, guys, interrupted Raymond.
You’re very quiet, Raymond, said Chantelle, are you alright?
I’m sorry. I was taken away by the scenery.
How Romantic of you, said Chantelle.

When they arrived on the beach, they hired an umbrella and three deckchairs. They bought a bottle of water and a bottle of suncream. While Raymond was pitching the umbrella, James was playing ducks and drakes: he picked flat pebbles and threw them across the sea, watching them bounce. Chantelle was undressing and getting ready for sunbathing. She loved lying in the sun, feeling the heat, the breeze and the drops of water spraying over her body. When Raymond was done with the umbrella, he joined James and started skimming pebbles too. He chose flat, thin, smooth, light pebbles and threw them from as low to the ground as possible. They skimmed much faster than James’s; they nearly didn’t touch the water. 

After winning the competition, Raymond sat on the deckchair and started reading his book. He always had a book with him, usually a detective story or a thriller. They gave him the opportunity to investigate the characters and the events narrated in the novel and then expand the investigation to human nature the laws of the universe. He wouldn’t read long, after a couple of pages he was already speculating. 

In the background he could hear James and Chantelle chatting. Ostensibly they were talking about love.

There’s an obvious connection between love and water. Life comes from water and is started  by an act of love, affirmed Chantelle.
Exactly, confirmed James, that’s why we are all attracted to water. 
Don’t you reckon, Raymond? asked Chantelle.
Quite. ‘Meditation and water are wedded forever’ and meditation establishes a connection with the forces of the universe.
Is that why you’re lost in your thoughts? asked James.
He always is, intervened Chantelle, his thoughts are his strongest connection. 
How mean of you! Are you suggesting that I’d rather entertain myself with my thoughts than with other people?
To be honest I noticed that while we were chatting you were absorbed in your thoughts, said James. I’m sure  they were lofty ones, but you were completely oblivious of us.
Ok, admitted Raymond, you’re right. But, as we’ve just said, it’s the effect of water.

The accusations didn’t touch Raymond in the least. He knew that his natural bent for deep thought was often confused with self-absorption, but there wasn't much he could do about it. 

While Raymond was busy thinking and the other two entertaining each other, the sea offered a spectacular sunset and that brought them all back together again.



© Copyright 2018 John John William. All rights reserved.

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