Jesamine, Molly, and me

Heybridge Basin, Essex

Swimming in December? Just look at that smile!

Deep into edits today, I realised I’d become stuck. All had been going well and suddenly a piece of dialogue just wouldn’t work. The conversation wasn’t sounding right – the characters weren’t doing as I wanted them to do. So I grabbed Molly’s lead and my camera, and we jumped into Jesamine for a winter estuary walk.

This time last year I was still full of the excitement of returning home from Shetland. This year is very different. So many people I know are struggling and bad news seems to be everywhere. I feel as if I’m missing Tim more than I ever have (last night I wondered if it would be weird to stuff some of his clothes that I’ve kept and spray them with his aftershave because I wanted to hug him so much – bonkers, I know). There’s a Maroon 5 song called Memories, that always makes me think of Tim, and last night, when I was scrolling through social media (a huge mistake before I try to sleep), I came across the song by One Voice Children’s Choir and I realised it’s based on Pachelbel’s Canon in D, one of my all-time favourite pieces of classical music, and I played it over and over and….well….I had a rough night’s sleep.

Where’s all the mud?

So this afternoon I headed out, tired, frustrated that I couldn’t find the right words, but Pachelbel running through my mind. The car park was busy but when we got onto the sea wall, there were only a few people around. Before I knew it I was saying hello and chatting to people working on boats or walking their dogs. The tide was in which is unusual for me. I always seem to time my walks for when the tide is out and I realised how much I’ve come to love the muddy moonscape of the riverbed.

I came across a small group who were swimming, and I got chatting to one of the ladies. She said they swim almost every day. Her smile was infectious and I felt my heart settle. Molly and I only walked for an hour or so. It was cold but not bitterly so. The landscape was a steely blue – almost impossible to tell water from sky.

Sky or sea?

I came home singing along to Johnny Cash and A Thing Called Love. For a little while I found peace – and love. For a little while I let the estuary hold me and I allowed myself to let go of my fear and sadness. I started humming Pachelbel again, but this time I was smiling and thinking of the line in the pop song: memories bring back you. To remember is usually comforting but sometimes it’s painful. That’s the risk I have to take – what’s the alternative? I have to trust that everything will be okay.

So, back home and back at the keyboard. I tried having a word with my characters but they just wouldn’t cooperate. There was only one thing for it. I highlighted their boring conversation and pressed delete!


Published by completelyjane

I'm a daughter, a sister, a mother, a widow . . . Life has its ups and downs but the main thing is to try and keep the sunny side up. My writing explores relationships and what makes us tick. I blog a little, write flash fiction and short stories. I'm working on a novel which explores a friendship lasting decades, and the everlasting power of love.

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