Summer Selections: The House by The Sea

by Alice West

At the horizon, in the moment where the Sea meets the night sky, there is nothing but the sound of the wind. The soft breaths of cresting waves and the violin sounds of whale song beneath the surface. Black and littered with stars, the sky falls into her gentle rippling tides and touches her with the calm of night. Filled with a darkness she can’t contain, she whistles into the sky. A kiss, a dance, a ritual; the Sea moves and then doesn’t move. The tide sings her goodbyes and then slips over the horizon, black into black.

From out beyond the harbour, the village is just a collection of yellow lights clustered on the side of a hill further up the river. Half way between the shore and the horizon, a red buoy bobs on the surface of a flat Sea. She tangles herself up in the rope anchoring it to the sand, pulling it tight and sturdy. Then falls between the fibres and releases it again. The buoy wobbles again. The horizon is a series of movements. She exists here, the beating pulse of every ripple that makes up her flat-line. And, all the way out there, each irregular beat carries her forward. Flowing up the channels that pour towards the beach where her building momentum will crash into sand. She exhales, and as she drags back to Sea, she inhales. The wind sings for her, there is no rest for the wicked.

There’s a crack in the coast, where the river pushes into the Sea and the wind has no direction. Since time began, this has been the point where land crumbled into the Sea. The rocks and boulders that litter this place are prehistoric, no man could move them and no man would try. These rocks have seen men grow. They have seen men learn to build sails and ships and ropes. They have seen men cry and laugh and fall in love with dangerous creatures that are only half woman. These rocks have been worn by the Sea and her thrashing and spitting, and in all the time that stands before and beyond this moment, these rocks have been touched by the same wind. Here, on this little beach, there is nothing to suggest that humans have ever walked this earth. Apart from a house, crumbling at its edges, tucked into a cove along the shore where the waters are still, and the wind is barely a whimper.

Built from the beach itself, the house has been part of the scenery for hundreds of years. Not even the oldest man in the village can remember the last time someone lived there. Most of it remained, but part of the roof had fallen in on itself and there were spaces in the bricks where the stone wall hadn’t been strong enough to survive the wind’s harsh kiss. Centuries of wind and salty sea had left it battered and shaken, but nestled between two rocks the house was still there. As strong, and as lonely, as the cliffs around it.

Summer Selections is a FalWriting series bringing you a variety of writing produced this academic year by Falmouth students. It's a vibrant and diverse selection of work covering text forms from experimental poetry to forensic literary analysis, from gothic short stories to critical dissertations. This year the selection is guest edited by third year student Jess Hawes.