Defamiliarisation of an object

A plastic carrier bag full of shells.  Sitting on top of  my dressing table, often with other objects piled on top, objects which cause the shells to rattle slightly if I pick them up.  Every time this happens, and I hear this quiet rustle or rattling, I think of Portobello beach where my friend picked them up for me.  Portobello beach; it has never been sunny or warm when I’ve visited it.  Always cold, and windy, the strong gusts and sea spray chilling me to the bone.  British beaches always depress me.  I always feel as though the beach-goers and even the beach itself are aspiring to be something else, something distant.  I never really want to be on these beaches, which is maybe why I constantly find myself standing at the water’s edge, gazing out onto the horizon, straining my eyes as if I expect to see a strange, foreign land.  It is at moments like these that I always have an urge to run full-throttle into the sea and swim, and just keep on swimming!  Until I reach somewhere that isn’t here.  That’s probably why those shells have lain untouched on my dressing table for months on end.  They would remind me, every time I looked at them, that I’d rather be somewhere else.

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