The memories I carry are soft and hazy, prone to a sweetness distilled in indulgent manipulation.

As a child I treaded softly upon the sand. I felt the burn of the sun on my nose for just a moment before the piercing cry of seagulls diverted my attention. Arms outstretched I sought to claim their bountiful loot. I punctuated the air with my presence, arms flailing through the salty air. Soon enough it was mine. Discarded plastics, crushed cans, and colorful bits of previous life. My mother had chastised the indignity of the mess, for it had sullied our beautiful beach.

Years later I returned to Manibus beach with my friends. As we rumbled down the road we sipped sweet cola and made great use of my parents’ new car equipped with a radio. Ahead lay the littered dunes and behind, our stretching line of exhaust. One hand on the hot wheel, I chucked the bottle into the wind. This granted me levity and a handful of chuckles. At the beach I swiped the hair and sweat from my eyes as the sun beat down with increasing ferocity. The sea was too choked with litter to swim anyways.

Now I cannot help but wedge deep imprints wherever I go. They say the hairspray destroyed the ozone, and the car I aspired towards created the dark smog over my city. But I was too busy, too ignorant, too powerless…too callous to the degree of my harm. I made the easy choices and accepted my shoddy rationale.

I have inherited Manibus beach and become king of a wasteland. Soon it will be yours, my heir.

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    2 years ago

    Hello Helena, and welcome to Voice Club! Your story speaks to all of us – who hasn’t carelessly tossed something out of a car window, especially when we were teenagers? Now we’re living with the consequences of our thoughtless actions. You’ve captured all of that in the brief history of one stretch of beach. The “King” didn’t inherit much, did he? An excellent story. Thanks for joining us – hope to read… Read more »

    Susan Dawson
    Susan Dawson(@susan-dawson)
    2 years ago

    One little bottle, expanding to a littered sea, and from that I am reminded of the wastelands in India full of the plastic discarded by other countries.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    2 years ago

    Hello, Helena. A warm welcome to Voice club. Many are hit in the face by your story, Helena. It really speaks to all of us. Well done. Hope to read more stories from you.

    Dipayan Chakrabarti
    Dipayan Chakrabarti(@dipayan-chakrabarti)
    2 years ago

    I like the act of comparing in order to show differences. The story portrays beach pollution in a poignant manner. Careless human activity has posed a serious threat to the ocean ecosystem, thereby affectig several species of marine flora and fauna as well as humans that are dependent on it.

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